This amazing shot comes from recent tests at the Marshall Space Flight centre, where the robotic lunar test bed is helping NASA develop a new generation of multi-use landers to explore the moon, Mars and asteroids.
Those big oval-shaped tanks store fuel for the test bed’s thrusters, one set of which guide its altitude/landing. For the tests here on Earth, an additional thruster offsets gravity so the others function as they would on the moon.
NASA is developing a flight mission to travel to the lunar poles, but also designing the landers to set down on the moon’s mid-regions. To build-out the program, Marshall partnered with John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, and the Von Braun centre for Science and Innovation.