Blue Origin test-fires rocket engine that scientists expect to take on extra methane made in space – so solving the dilemma of how to return home from the red planet

Blue Origin, the US private space launch company, has successfully test fired the world’s most powerful methane-burning rocket engine. Rockets such as this, fuelled by natural gas, will be essential for the first crewed missions to Mars.

The company, founded in 2000 by Amazon’s chief, Jeff Bezos, released a video on 19 October showing a six-second firing of the BE-4 engine at its suborbital launch facility near Van Horn, west Texas.

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