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NASA Cancels Rover Meant to Mine Water From the Moon

NASA Cancels Rover Meant to Mine Water From the Moon

This prompted an outcry from lunar scientists with the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group who have cheered on the Trump administration's proposed return to the Moon. "More landers. More science".

To underscore that point, Mr. Bridenstine on Friday sent a message on twitter emphasizing NASA's renewed focus on lunar exploration.

Bridenstine linked to a Resource Prospector page on the NASA website, which included a brief statement about the mission's future.

The letter, co-authored by Neal and LEAG's current chair, Samuel J. Lawrence, also stated the cancellation "is viewed with both incredulity and dismay by our community, especially as the President's Space Policy Directive 1 directs NASA to go to the lunar surface".

U.S. space Agency (NASA) stopped a program to develop the Resource Prospector lunar Rover. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use", Trump said in December.

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However, even before this announcement, NASA had telegraphed that it the mission was not a priority for its lunar exploration plans.

According to Clive Neal, a University of Notre Dame planetary scientist and emeritus chairman of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, members of the Resource Prospector mission were told to close out the project by the end of May. The agency's fiscal year 2019 budget request, released in February, included no funding for the mission in its Exploration Advanced Systems (EAS) program. It was moved into the science program, but its goals don't really fit that directorate. The follow-on projects are created to build on progress by NASA so far. "We just need to know exactly how much is there". Some of those companies have already been working with NASA on its Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown, or CATALYST, program, where NASA has provided technical support through Space Act Agreements.

NASA replied with a declaration posted on the Internet on Friday, according to which some of the devices on the recently-canceled vehicle's board will be used in another future mission, which will be developed for the same objective, namely, the Moon's surface exploration. A 2022 launch, they wrote, would demonstrate NASA's ability to react quickly to changes in space policy, preempt robotic missions being developed by other nations and pave the way for commercial activities on the moon.

"NASA is developing an exploration strategy to meet its expanded lunar exploration objectives of the agency", the NASA declaration read.

The move has thereby astonished the scientists who have been working on the mission.