During recent tests at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the lander test article was suspended up 10.5 feet from the landing pad. After being released from its hoist, the lander simultaneously received a command to activate its onboard thrusters to carry it to a controlled landing using a preprogrammed descent profile. These tests demonstrate the test article's capability to perform autonomous descent, and soon will be used to checkout landing control algorithms for the next generation of lander missions. Landing on Earth is a difficult task since engineers have to take into account the Earths gravity is six times the gravity a vehicle will experience on the moon. The team at Marshall is designing and building the next generation of robotic landers that will be capable of carrying a broad range of science payloads and devices that could perform a variety of investigations, including understanding the moon's deep interior and searching for the existence lunar ice and water at the poles.