It wasn't too long ago that NASA's experimental robotic lunar lander was busy crashing and burning after liftoffs. Fast forward a few months and Morpheus has started to come into its own. Just watch what it can do now.

The February 10, 2014, 74-second trial run saw Morpheus soar 467 feet (142 meters) above the ground. That's more than 160 feet (48 meters) higher than its previous test. The lander then flew forward 637 feet (194 meters) in a half minute before descending and landing right on target. NASA writes:

Initial data indicated a nominal flight meeting all test objectives. The vehicle flew its pre-planned trajectory flawlessly, reaching a max ascent velocity of 13 m/s, and landing with no appreciable deviation from its intended target 74 seconds after launch. The Morpheus Team again demonstrated engineering and operational excellence, relying upon training, discipline and experience to ensure today's success.

Here's the video of Morpheus crashing back in October 2012:

[ h/ t Space ]