After the said mission has reportedly been scrapped, the audiences present worldwide eye to the NASA's robotic mission which is still under the wraps. 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.
The robotic rover was being built as the world's only vehicle aimed at exploring the polar region of the Moon, and was expected to undergo a design review next year ahead of launching in 2022.
Two other lunar scientists, who did not want to be quoted for this article, suggested the move to kill the Resource Prospector could be an effort to subvert the nascent return to the Moon program.
Bridenstine, who was confirmed this week as the new head of Nasa, insisted on Twitter that the USA space agency is "committed to lunar exploration".
While the lander and rover parts of the Resource Prospector that would fly to the moon have not been built, numerous instruments have been developed and tested. More exploration. More prospectors. "This exploration campaign reinforces Space Policy Directive 1, which calls for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and global partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, including returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration".
Resource Prospector has been a mission in early stages of development at NASA for several years. "RP was the only polar lander-rover mission under development by NASA". 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.
"We're committed to lunar exploration".
"EAS is no longer pursuing a potential independent Resource Prospecting [sic] (RP) mission, but integrating the RP measurement objectives with [Science Mission Directorate] Lunar Discovery Exploration Program and lander capability advancements under the Advanced Cislunar and Surface Capabilities programs", the agency's budget proposal stated. "We feel that time is of the essence", Neal said. That update doesn't offer any detail about what sort of mission those instruments would be moved to or when it might reach the Moon.