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A Step Forward in Space

It was a cloud nine moment for all scientists and people around the globe when NASA’s curiosity rover landed safely in planet Mars. This is a milestone in space exploration after decades old Armstrong’s visit to the moon. This news topped all the media headlines and had a viral spread through the internet.

At the same time a “green” spacecraft which is one of its kind, failed during its test launch at Kennedy Space centre. Morpheus, the spacecraft which was being tested with “green” fuel was unsuccessful due to some hardware problem.

The propellant (spacecraft fuel) used in Morpheus was a mixture of oxygen (liquid state) and methane. This mixture is highly efficient and less toxic compared to the traditional liquid hydrogen based propulsion system. According to NASA the advantage of using green methane is its availability, the ISS (International Space Station) already produces large waste methane which can provide a sufficient fuel to fill the Morpheus’s fuel tank. Both methane and oxygen can be easily obtained during the course of any mission.

The design and concept of Morpheus was inspired from Pixel, an eco-friendly test bed that used spare parts from a company called Armadillo Aerospace instead of fabricating special parts for the craft. Similarly Morpheus was also designed to work with less hardware and eco-friendly propulsion system. Both Pixel and Morpheus are the foremost spacecrafts built using recycled parts and green fuel. They can also carry a rover or Robot for space exploration.

The bad news is that the green spacecraft was burnt to balls just after the test launch but the reassuring good news is that NASA has found that the blast was not due to the new propulsion system but because of some GPS problem. NASA thinks that even though this mission was a failure it will be a gateway for such “green” projects. Due to excessive exploitation and depletion of fossil fuels and the pollution caused by them, NASA is taking serious steps to use green fuels like methane and electric aircrafts. This failure may be a setback to NASA but it is a giant leap for mankind!

While earth is already suffering from acute pollution disorders, let us strive to keep Space fresh and unspoilt.

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