NASA has called off the world’s only lunar robotic vehicle, Resource Prospector (RP), which was in progress until recently and which has been designed for the Moon’s surface exploration. NASA’s decision took the whole scientific community by surprise and triggered some protests against it.
The researchers at the Resource Prospector (RP) mission had the job to develop this robotic vehicle, a project which was launched about 10 years ago and meant to investigate the Moon’s polar areas.
“We have just learned that RP was canceled on April 23rd, 2018, and the project will be completed before the end of May,” stated the representatives of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, on April 26th.
The NASA robotic vehicle was meant to search for oxygen, hydrogen, and water on Moon’s surface
This decision was received with “disbelief and dismay” by the scientific community, especially since the space programme communicated by the US President Donald Trump demanded NASA to send Moon exploration missions.
The robotic rover had been built as the world’ only vehicle able to scan the Moon’s polar areas and was expected to undergo a test next year prior to its launch, which was planned for 2022.
This rover would’ve been the first US Moon lander since the Apollo 17 Mission which happened back in 1972.
Resource Prospector (RP) was intended to be the first one to examine the surface of the Moon for volatile substances like oxygen and hydrogen, as well as for water.
NASA announced they will develop another mission to replace RP
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 purpose, namely, the Moon’s surface exploration.
“NASA is developing an exploration strategy to meet its expanded lunar exploration objectives of the agency,” the NASA declaration read.
In conclusion, NASA canceled lunar surface exploration rover, Resource Prospector, shocking a part of the scientific community, but just to replace it with another mission which also aims for the Moon’s surface exploration.