A free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander and Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology, or ALHAT, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 28, 2014.
Mike Chambers—NASA/EPA
By TIME Staff
May 30, 2014

NASA on Friday released imagery from a test run of its Morpheus prototype, which it says demonstrates it can land unmanned spacecraft on harsh planetary terrain in the dark.

The test, NASA said, was conducted Wednesday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA says its hazard detection system, “assisted by three light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors, located obstacles—such as rocks and craters—and safely landed on the lunar-like hazard field a quarter mile away from the NASA Center.”

“These new capabilities could be used in future efforts to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces,” NASA said.

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