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    Posted July 31, 2012 by
    Kennedy Space Center, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your views of space and stars

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    NASA's Morpheus Project


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     MrDemil captured these photographs from a hazard-field built to support testing of new technologies for automated landing systems for future space missions. While getting a walk-down to see the completion of the job and to see the Morpheus Lander, he says there was a lot of excitement knowing that he had a small part in the test of new innovations that may help NASA land on distant asteroids or Mars. "There is a lot of people that think that there is not a lot happening at NASA with the shuttle gone, when in fact there is a tremendous amount of work occurring to ready the U.S. for the next steps in space flight," he says. "NASA is alive and kicking!"
    - Anika3, CNN iReport producer

    I had an exciting moment this afternoon in getting to walk-down a "Hazard Field" that our company constructed for the next phase of NASA's Morpheus project.

    The hazard field contains rocks, craters and other inhospitable areas that would be difficult for autonomous space vehicles to navigate, and find an optimal landing spot.

    NASA has developed an autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) that will be tested here at the Kennedy Space Center over the next several weeks. This system uses active sensors for terrain-relative navigation and hazard avoidance. Morpheus' propulsion system consists of an oxygen/methane fuel-type system. The Morpheus lander will fly high over the hazard field and find the best possible landing area to sit down on.

    This technology will pave the way for methods to send vehicles to touch down on distant objects such as asteroids, and Mars.

    Although the shuttle is gone, there is still a lot of amazing things happening here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. There are some interesting articles and videos online about the Morpheus project, if you are interested in exploring more details.
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