As a nice counterpoint to the Curiosity landing, NASA today demonstrated they have the capacity to fail spectacularly as well. A prototype lander, Morpheus, designed as a testbed for greener fuels, crashed today during a test flight.
The prototype lander is about 10 feet in diameter and weighs 2,300 lbs. The design would permit landing up to 1,100 lbs of cargo on the moon, and that cargo could include the very exciting Robonaut 2, who'd probably like to visit the moon. The lander uses a liquid oxygen and methane propulsion system, which are cheap and clean fuels and likely fuels to be found or derived from other locations in space.
The cause of today's crash has not yet been determined, though the lander's Twitter feed does reference a slight pressure leak just prior to the test.
Failure is how we learn, so I'm sure there's plenty to be learned here, and Morpheus'll be back up in no time. Though you gotta admit, for a lander crash, this one's pretty satisfying. The lander's heart just doesn't look in it from the start. It gets off the ground, hesitates, then you can almost see the onboard computer display "FUCK IT" before slamming heavily into the ground.
And then, once everyone thinks it's done, boom, it explodes. Because, may as well, right?
(Hat tip to @ToastForBrekkie!)