Project Morpheus NASA CNN Student News

Project Morpheus is a NASA project that began in 2010 to develop a vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) test vehicle called the Morpheus Lander. It is intended to demonstrate a new nontoxic spacecraft propellant system (methane and oxygen) and an autonomous landing and hazard detection technology. The prototype planetary lander is capable of autonomous flight, including vertical takeoff and landings. The vehicles are NASA-designed robotic landers that will be able to land and take off with 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of cargo on the Moon. The prospect is an engine that runs reliably on propellants that are not only cheaper and safer here on Earth, but could also be potentially manufactured on the Moon and Mars. (See: In-situ resource utilization. )

The need to comprehend and explain our origins--the world of natural phenomena--cannot be properly viewed as exclusively scientific. Instead, it should be viewed as something generally human. Through enchanting, magical narratives involving super-human heroes and heroines, as well as anthropomorphic gods and goddesses, ancient pre-scientific societies attempted to explain and make some order out of the mysterious complexities of the Cosmos. Earth's Moon has always held a place of special fascination for our species, inspiring our human imagination to escape its troubling limitations and--as we search beyond our Earthbound lives--help us to move towards an understanding of who we are, in all our human complexity. Therefore, ancient gods and goddesses mimic our bewitching Moon's unending, gentle tug on the forces of life. In this sense, it may be detrimental to completely dismiss these ancient myths--ascribing them to an unsophisticated and archaic past. What is the difference between a Lunar Eclipse and New Moon? They seem quite similar and there is often confusion between the two. A lunar eclipse happens twice a year whereas a new moon happens once a month. Here is further clarification: The three little moons (Methone, Pallene, and Anthe) orbit at very similar distances from Saturn, and they have a dynamical relationship. Mimas disturbs the trio of little moons, and causes the orbit of Methone to vary by as much as 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). Mimas causes the orbit of Pallene to vary by a slightly smaller amount--but it has the greatest influence on the orbit of the moon Anthe.