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NASA successfully tests autonomous lunar lander navigation system, codename GENIE (video)

Sean Hollister

Robonaut2 may have fantastic biceps, but raw muscle won't put a man humanoid on the moon -- that takes rockets. Rockets like the one in this RR-1 prototype lander, recently outfitted with a Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment (GENIE) system to let the craft safely descend to the lunar surface. On June 23rd, NASA and partner Armadillo Aerospace put the system to the test, hoping it could figure out the complex algorithms necessary to process volumes of data from the laser altimeter, GPS and inertial sensors, and quickly enough to steer the rocket engine accordingly... but the machine performed like a charm. See its first solo flight in an inspiring, flame-filled video after the break, and skip to 4:12 for the good stuff.

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