AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - A prototype NASA lander crashed and burned in a test flight at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone says it appears that the methane-powered Morpheus lander is a total loss. She says nobody was hurt in the unmanned test Thursday afternoon, and the flames were put out. NASA video shows the spider-like vehicle taking off and then seconds later tilting and crashing back to the ground.
The test lander was built mostly with low-cost, off-the-shelf equipment at Johnson Space Center in Houston. It was an attempt by NASA to use cheaper, more readily available and environmentally friendly rocket fuel. NASA was considering it as a potential lander for places like the moon or an asteroid.
The lander last week started flight tests in Cape Canaveral, Fla. It would lift off, hover and then land.
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