NASA Is Reportedly Canceling Its Only Planned Lunar Rover Mission

China is using its economic might to pursue an aggressive space programme as it strives to narrow the gap with the United States in space exploration

In a brief statement late April 27, NASA confirmed it no longer planned to fly the Resource Prospector (RP) mission, a lunar rover meant to travel into permanently shadowed regions of the lunar poles and assess the ability to extract water ice, a potentially valuable resource for future human missions.

Nasa responded with a statement posted online Friday which said some of the instruments aboard RP would be flown on future missions. NASA released a draft request for proposals for that program April 27. However, the space agency's administrator #Jim Bridenstine took to Twitter to try to clarify what was really going on in context of the overall plans for lunar exploration. "Resource Prospector instruments will go forward in an expanded lunar surface campaign", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted. The second reason for the mistake is that the science program is for small robotic landers, not 660-pound rovers. This was the objective of the Resource Prospector mission, to better characterize water ice deposits at the polar regions and to assess the ease (or difficulty) with which they might be obtained.

However, nothing in the update states explicitly that the decision to cancel the Lunar Resource Prospector has been reversed and that the mission will fly in 2022 as planned. "More commercial partners", he wrote.

And a letter from a group of lunar scientists says the mission is a key part of fulfilling the president's initiative. In the letter, LEAG said it had heard that Resource Prospector had been cancelled as of April 23, with instructions to close out the project by the end of May. Indeed, when President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 last December, he redirected NASA back toward the Moon, including for the purposes of "long-term exploration and utilization" of that sphere. The goal of the mission was to understand what kinds of materials may be found at the poles.

According to an earlier NASA statement, the agency planed to launch Resource Prospector in the 2020s.

China is on a mission to build a "Lunar Palace".

Everything looked good for the moon mission.

Project advocates had hoped the change in policy would boost the fortunes of the mission.

According to the China Daily, China is "conducting a feasibility study for a robotic outpost on the lunar surface to conduct scientific research and technological experiments", in which arabidopsis - a flowering plant belonging to the mustard family - and potato seeds will be planted, and silkworm cocoons will be grown on the moon.

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