HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Researchers at an aerospace agency based on the Big Island are working to determine what went wrong during testing of a lunar landing pad made entirely of volcanic rock.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems found problems with the pad's interlocking mechanism during a test Sunday. Project manager Rodrigo Romo says that about one-third of the basalt pavers disassembled during the four-second rocket engine firing aimed at testing the pad under pressure.
The lunar landing pad was completed last year using rovers and robots.
Researchers are planning to use the pad, which could potentially be constructed in space, to help future missions take off and land without causing damage.
PISCES is continuing to analyze the pad to determine what needs to be improved.