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Lunar lander lifts off, then promptly crashes


As the sole contestant in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Armadillo Aerospace's predictably named Armadillo managed to complete two parts of a NASA challenge to win $350,000 in prize money. However, on attempting the top task -- fly 50 meters up, fly 50 meters sideways, and land -- the Armadillo tripped up, plummeting to the ground and losing the chance to win $1 million. It'll get another chance today, although at least the team won't be rushed by the non-existent competitors. Packing 1,800 pounds of thrust to the vessel's 1,500 pound weight, the Armadillo is guided by GPS and other sensors: one day we could be taking trips to the moon in the distant, distant successor to this little beast.

[Via Crave]

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