April 1, 2011
Nearly 40 years after Americans last set foot on the moon, a determined band of NASA engineers, undeterred by massive budget cuts and red tape, may have paved the way for a long awaited return to the lunar surface.
In 2009, President Obama slashed the Constellation project, a nearly $100 billion project to replace the aging space shuttle fleet with a group of new spacecraft that could ultimately take man to the moon and beyond. Lockheed Martin unveiled Orion last week, a last-gasp effort to continue a small part of that project — but the end of Constellation seemed the death of America’s lunar ambitions to many.
But not to everyone.
A group of NASA engineers — acting on their own initiative to find funding in other research and development projects, and in partnership with an aerospace startup, together with their own sweat equity — have designed and built a breakthrough piece of technology: the first new lunar landing craft from the space agency in 40 years.
Meet Project Morpheus. Final destination: the moon.
This article was posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 8:19 am