NASA Morpheus prototype paves way for manned Mars missions

HOUSTON (NASA/CNN) – It’s up, up and away for NASA’s Morpheus prototype — undergoing a successful test launch and soft landing.

Engineers ran the two-minute test Wednesday night at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Morpheus vehicle is being used to help create a planetary lander for future manned space missions — like Mars.

It’s designed to take off like a rocket and gently land vertically, like a helicopter.

If the craft looks familiar, it’s because NASA used a similar — though much less advanced — lander for moon missions.

You can read full details on the Morpheus project at NASA’s website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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