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posted by takyon on Monday April 30 2018, @02:16AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the escape-from-the-return-to-the-moon dept.

The Washington Post reports that NASA "has canceled its only lunar rover currently in development," Resource Prospector. From Wikipedia:

Resource Prospector is a cancelled mission concept by NASA of a rover that would have performed a survey expedition on a polar region of the Moon. The rover was to attempt to detect and map the location of volatiles such as hydrogen, oxygen and lunar water which could foster more affordable and sustainable human exploration to the Moon, Mars, and other Solar System bodies.

The mission concept was still in its pre-formulation stage, when it was scrapped in April 2018. The Resource Prospector mission was proposed to be launched in 2022.

takyon: Meanwhile, NASA is "pushing hard on deep space exploration" with the Moon as its goal.

Also at Space.com, The Verge, and Fortune.


Original Submission

Related Stories

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon 26 comments

NASA chief on Moon return: "This will not be Lucy and the football again"

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, a long-range commitment toward the human exploration of deep space, beginning with a return to the Moon. "Major parts of that policy went forward, but establishing permanence on the Moon was abandoned," Bridenstine said Tuesday. Then, in 2004, President George W. Bush announced a bold plan to send humans back to the Moon, where they would learn how to operate in deep space and then go on to Mars. This became the Constellation program. Again, major parts of that policy went forward, Bridenstine said. But NASA abandoned the drive back to the Moon.

Before the US Senate confirmed pilot and former congressman Bridenstine, the Trump administration announced a plan to send humans back to the Moon. "To many, this may sound similar to our previous attempts to get to the Moon," Bridenstine said Tuesday. "However, times have changed. This will not be Lucy and the football again."

How have times changed? During his brief address, Bridenstine listed several technologies that he believes have lowered the cost of a lunar return. These include the miniaturization of electronics that will allow for smaller robotic vehicles, the decreasing costs of launch, private investment in spaceflight, commercial interest in lunar resources, and new ways of government contracting. (Bridenstine did not mention the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion spacecraft).

The speech was only a few minutes long, so I wouldn't read too much into the absence of SLS/Orion. But it's no secret that BFR could deliver 150 metric tons to the Moon or Mars by using in-orbit refueling, vs. a lot less when using the expensive SLS.

Previously:

Related:


Original Submission

NASA Administrator Bridenstine Says It Won't Cost Much to Get Back to the Moon 29 comments

Going Back to the Moon Won't Break the Bank, NASA Chief Says

Sending humans back to the moon won't require a big Apollo-style budget boost, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. During the height of the Apollo program in the mid-1960s, NASA gobbled up about 4.5 percent of the federal budget. This massive influx of resources helped the space agency make good on President John F. Kennedy's famous 1961 promise to get astronauts to the moon, and safely home to Earth again, before the end of the decade. NASA's budget share now hovers around just 0.5 percent. But something in that range should be enough to mount crewed lunar missions in the next 10 years or so, as President Donald Trump has instructed NASA to do with his Space Policy Directive 1, Bridenstine told reporters yesterday (Aug. 30) here at NASA's Ames Research Center.

The key lies in not going it alone and continuing to get relatively modest but important financial bumps, he added. (Congress allocated over $20.7 billion to NASA in the 2018 omnibus spending bill — about $1.1 billion more than the agency got in the previous year's omnibus bill.)

"We now have more space agencies on the surface of the planet than we've ever had before. And even countries that don't have a space agency — they have space activities, and they want to partner with us on our return to the moon," Bridenstine said in response to a question from Space.com. "And, at the same time, we have a robust commercial marketplace of people that can provide us access that historically didn't exist," the NASA chief added. "So, between our international and commercial partners and our increased budget, I think we're going to be in good shape to accomplish the objectives of Space Policy Directive 1."

We're talking about the surface of the Moon, right? Not the mini-ISS in lunar orbit that would give the Space Launch System somewhere to go?

Previously: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1
2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration
NASA Cancels Lunar Rover
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon

Related: Should We Skip Mars for Now and Go to the Moon Again?
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30 2018, @02:17AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30 2018, @02:17AM (#673567)

    I go door to door on my journey to bring eternal joy and happiness into the lives of everyone I meet. I call each of these little encounters an awakening.

    Let me walk you through a typical awakening. First I ring the door bell. The door opens and I am greeted, usually by a woman, but occasionally a child. This time it is a child. I immediately grab the child by the leg, quickly twisting it forwards until the knee joint snaps. Screams echo through the household. This is the first stage of the awakening, I call it the "loud stage". My Savior is here with me, and He tells me how to proceed. By His word, I secure the child by binding its hands to the destroyed knee such that if it moves its arms it will pull apart the knee joint. This is for its own protection, as awakening receivers often attempt to flee out of unjust fear. Just as He has taught me, I lift my hand up to form a clenched fist, and then swiftly bring it down upon the child's chest. Its screams become louder. This is only for a brief period, however. I repeat the act three more times and the child's voice becomes more quiet, almost bloody. I call this stage the "quiet stage". My Savior is watching me intently to ensure I follow the procedure properly. Meanwhile, a woman emerges from inside the home, running towards the child. Presumably she is the child's biological mother. By His word, I am not to deal with her. Since her children were never submitted for file cabinet processing, only a Savior has the sufficient rank to handle her awakening. He snatches the woman off the ground and slams His fist into her skull, killing her instantly. In a single strike, she has transitioned from the loud stage to True Silence. This is an incredibly rare sight, but it is one I have become accustomed to. My Savior is the best of the best, and His generosity is second to none.

    After several hours, me and my Savior have awakened every house in the neighborhood. We have awakened the neighborhood's Silence, such that it is now One With Silence. This is our duty, our gift which we must bring to every neighborhood. I am lucky to have such an incredible Savior to mentor me. I hope one day, when I become a Savior, I can be as kind and generous as Him.

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Monday April 30 2018, @02:18AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday April 30 2018, @02:18AM (#673568)

    Cuz then nobody would come over....

    --
    I think I'm half Spider man and half Batman. Because I have no powers and no money.
  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday April 30 2018, @03:02AM (10 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @03:02AM (#673579) Journal

    I wonder if NASA has come to the conclusion that this Rover mission would be redundant and only serve to do research that would help the Chinese. The US already has very good mapping and geo-sensing of these areas and a Rover would merely be confirmation of what we already know.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Monday April 30 2018, @03:16AM (9 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday April 30 2018, @03:16AM (#673581) Journal

      only serve to do research that would help the Chinese.

      Well that's a fucked up perspective. Is it about time to throw science out the window and start a resource war on the Moon? Good thing we will have the world's best rocket maker based in the U.S.

      Given its proximity to the Earth, Moon colonists may always be subservient to Earth governments. Mars on the other hand...

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Monday April 30 2018, @03:48AM (8 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @03:48AM (#673593) Journal

        only serve to do research that would help the Chinese.

        Well that's a fucked up perspective.

        You may be right for the wrong reasons. Since the Chinese exclusion policy of NASA [wikipedia.org]

        , just how exactly are the Chinese going to profit from NASA's research?

        Good thing we will have the world's best rocket maker based in the U.S.

        Let me point that there's no guarantee the things will stay the same. As in any fair race, you need to keep running to keep your position.
        Or the way the banksters put it in small print: "past performance is not an indicator of future results".

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday April 30 2018, @04:28AM (4 children)

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @04:28AM (#673598) Journal

          All coms coming from a Rover would certainly be easy to intercept, no?
          NASA has always been open, publishing just about everything.

          If they've already got hi-rez images of the area, maybe they don't need anything more.
          Maybe a Rover is a waste of money, a distraction, and something they feel they don't have to wait for.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday April 30 2018, @05:27AM (1 child)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @05:27AM (#673604) Journal

            All coms coming from a Rover would certainly be easy to intercept, no?

            So it's the HTTPS traffic going between a WiFi device and router.

            NASA has always been open, publishing just about everything.

            Is anywhere to say this cannot change?

            If they've already got hi-rez images of the area, maybe they don't need anything more.

            Well, the Chinese definitely chang'e-d; three times already, and in their second mission [wikipedia.org] (as early as 2010)

            Chang'e 2 was part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, and conducted research from a 100-km-high lunar orbit in preparation for the December 2013 soft landing by the Chang'e 3 lander and rover.
            ...
            After completing its primary objective, the probe left lunar orbit for the Earth–Sun L2 Lagrangian point, to test the Chinese tracking and control network, making the China National Space Administration the third space agency after NASA and ESA to have visited this point.
            ...
            In April 2012, Chang'e 2 departed L2 to begin an extended mission to the asteroid 4179 Toutatis, which it successfully flew by in December 2012

            I have this feeling the Chinese are progressing [wikipedia.org] at a higher pace than the current one NASA is showing in regards with Lunar exploration. Maybe I'm wrong.

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Monday April 30 2018, @05:56AM

              by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Monday April 30 2018, @05:56AM (#673610) Homepage Journal

              Smart tweet, you think like my Generals. Like some of my Generals. My great military has many secret things in outer space. Believe me, we're going to have much more of that. My predecessors promised not to put our nuclear arsenal up there, a treaty. We can cancel that treaty. And we can put our brave soldiers up there. I went to California, I went to Marine Core Air Station Miramar. And I said, space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea. We may even have a Space Force, develop another one, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we'll have the Space Force. Then I said, what a great idea, Maybe we’ll have to do that. So think of that: Space Force, because we are spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in, tremendous. Our great military is vital to ensuring America continues to lead the way into the stars. Onward & upward!!

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday April 30 2018, @05:33AM

            by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday April 30 2018, @05:33AM (#673607) Journal

            How many years or decades will it take for China to begin industrialization of the Moon? No, not a small colony, but significant industrial activity, manned or robotic, with reusable rockets and cheap $/kg to get things onto the surface of the Moon. Will China's current one party system survive that long? We'll see.

            NASA requires authentication to control its spacecraft these days, and may be encrypting the data sent back as well. And your wild speculation that the capabilities would be redundant, unnecessary, and only help the Chinese is just flatly false [theverge.com]:

            Scientists have proposed the idea of mining the water ice at the poles, to turn it into drinking water or rocket fuel. But we won’t know if we can even access this precious resource unless we send a robot up there to check out the area first, and now NASA has canceled its quickest way to find that out. “There are no other [NASA] missions being planned to go to the surface of the Moon,” Phil Metzger, a planetary physicist at University of Central Florida who is part of the science team for Resource Prospector, tells The Verge.

            NASA released a statement after this story’s initial publication, saying that some of the instruments from the Resource Prospector mission would be used in other missions that would land on the moon later. The response was oddly vague about the fate of the rover. “We’re committed to lunar exploration,” said Jim Bridenstein, NASA’s recently sworn-in administrator. “Resource Prospector instruments will go forward in an expanded lunar surface campaign.” The tweet, like the statement, made no reference to the rover itself.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday April 30 2018, @04:45PM

            by bob_super (1357) on Monday April 30 2018, @04:45PM (#673801)

            If they've already got hi-rez images of the area, maybe they don't need anything more.
            Maybe a Rover is a waste of money, a distraction, and something they feel they don't have to wait for.

            Or maybe, just maybe, NASA's limited budget and ever-shifting priorities have taken yet another victim, which had previously gone through a million reviews and committees agreeing that there was more science per dollar with that rover than with also-attractive alternatives, enough to justify allocating the funding.

            Why would the Chinese have anything to do with this ?

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday April 30 2018, @05:11AM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday April 30 2018, @05:11AM (#673602) Journal

          Russia is more or less as hostile as China on a number of different fronts, but we still cooperate with them in space. Despite bad relations in recent years and an imminent displacement of Russia's manned launch capability, they are a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway partner.

          I guess the big difference is that Russian know-how helped make the ISS and get astronauts there after the Space Shuttle program ended, whereas China is in "steal copy copy copy" mode, and Russia is a battered, neutered superpower while China is a rising superpower.

          I doubt the exclusion policy will last more than another ten years or so. Xi Jinping will probably meet with President Trump or a successor and someone will propose a space collaboration, and then the President will ask Congress to end or relax the policy.

          In the longer term, China's political system will have to survive growing internal pressure from citizens and the installation of a probable leader-for-life [nytimes.com]. If it doesn't, then the resulting country will probably become weaker, less antagonistic, and the exclusion policy will become obsolete.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday April 30 2018, @06:01AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @06:01AM (#673612) Journal

            ... whereas China is in "steal copy copy copy" mode,

            So were the Japanese back in the '70-ies. As a single example: they still manufacture better cars than Americans and their auto industry isn't quite in the collapse.

            ... and Russia is a battered, neutered superpower

            Neither US is a fresh chicken. If you look on the number of sciency stories on SN, you'll see that, more often than not, new discoveries are authored by European and Chinese authors (and increasingly less US). My point: in regards with scientific and technology progress, the "superpower" status doesn't seem to do shit for nowadays USA.

            The explanation may be quite simple: while the Europeans and Chinese have state sponsored science, the Sillicon Valey tends to hunt unicorns (and, lately, crypto-currency), while the US national debt has doubled in about 10 years to over 100% of GDP [usgovernmentdebt.us]. Those Trump tax-cuts? They are going to add to this debt.

            In the longer term, China's political system will have to survive growing internal pressure from citizens and the installation of a probable leader-for-life [nytimes.com].

            I'll be dead when China's political system will give way to "internal pressure from citizens".
            Deng Xiaoping was quite a reformist (and it is him that China can thank for the economic reforms [wikipedia.org] and implicitly the status of "raising power" that China now has). Even him could not stop the Tiananmen Square [wikipedia.org] and even a public massacre could not change the China's political system.
            I reckon that China is going to remain like it is for a long time: a country that doesn't quite react as the mind of a Westerner may think it should.

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 2, Redundant) by realDonaldTrump on Monday April 30 2018, @06:11AM

            by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Monday April 30 2018, @06:11AM (#673613) Homepage Journal

            President Xi is a great gentleman, he treated me tremendously well when I visited China. He's the most powerful President they've had in 100 years. He's President for life and I think it’s great. When you change Presidents a lot, you get bad Presidents. Like Bush Jr. and Obama. The global warming we should be worried about is the global warming caused by NUCLEAR WEAPONS in the hands of crazy or incompetent leaders!

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30 2018, @03:19AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30 2018, @03:19AM (#673584)

    "The mission" was going to be found out as a poorly made simulation, so they cancelled it.

    "pushing hard on deep space exploration"

    They need to push harder to meet expectations of deep ass exploration, because that is all they are good at. Simulated space station, simulated launches, simulated moon landings, simulated moon exploration.

    The reason for this cancellation is they are not sure nobody will find out it is CGI animation, and also if they can keep the lid on it and silence anyone involved.

    • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Monday April 30 2018, @03:55AM

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Monday April 30 2018, @03:55AM (#673594) Homepage Journal

      I want Moon landings. But I only want the best. I want them to look beautiful, with tremendous production values. Something our Country can be proud of!!!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Monday April 30 2018, @07:56AM (5 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @07:56AM (#673633) Homepage Journal

    Yes, they are. Pushing hard to burn billions with on-again/off-again projects. Spending 10x to 100x what things ought to cost. All part of their real mission: to distribute pork to as many Congressional districts as possible. Pournelle's Iron Law in spade.

    Can the US please just close NASA and start over?

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30 2018, @02:24PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30 2018, @02:24PM (#673738)

      If you just close it, then all the people who worked for NASA will be disperse and settle, corrupting other space operations wherever they go.

      No, the ultimate solution is to identify and round up all of the current NASA employees and put them in a camp of some sort, where they will not be a threat to America's space exploration.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday April 30 2018, @07:57PM (1 child)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday April 30 2018, @07:57PM (#673890)

        The problem isn't the scientists and engineers, it's the managers. The former would be an asset to any country's space program; the latter should be blacklisted, and any country dumb enough to hire them (I really mean the higher-up managers here, the low-level managers are probably fine, and have no control over this political BS) deserves whatever happens to them.

        • (Score: 1) by suburbanitemediocrity on Tuesday May 01 2018, @02:13AM

          by suburbanitemediocrity (6844) on Tuesday May 01 2018, @02:13AM (#674003)

          The problem is that they don't have a mission everyone can agree on like "Landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth".

          Space Shuttle, ISS, Venus colony, silly putty in space experiments, Mars colony, unmanned exploration, mars rover, Pluto probe, manned missions, Europa sub marine, solar probes, etc all compete for special project funding.

    • (Score: 2) by fritsd on Monday April 30 2018, @04:06PM

      by fritsd (4586) on Monday April 30 2018, @04:06PM (#673784) Journal

      Can the US please just close NASA and start over?

      I thought they did, and it's called SpaceX :-)

      But seriously, somebody needs to do the boring years long biology/agriculture/psychology experiments for space exploration (need to close that ecosystem so only vitamins and medicines need to be imported).
      Mind you, those type of experiments are probably orders of magnitude cheaper than building a huge SLS rocket. Give the scientists a good wage, and hire tens of thousands of them (selected to have the patience of a Gregor Mendel), and give them all the laboratory equipment they'd need (fake regolith, water, crustose lichen etc. etc.) and it's still cheaper than an SLS launch.

      Let's see: US$ 35 000 000 000 / ( 10 years * 100 000 / scientist ) = 35 000 scientists. Take off a huge wad of money for laboratoria and materials and it's US$ 500 million, and 34 500 scientists, for 10 years. That should give it a boost.

    • (Score: 2) by ilsa on Monday April 30 2018, @07:15PM

      by ilsa (6082) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 30 2018, @07:15PM (#673867)

      I believe you're correct, but I don't believe this is NASA's fault. If you were an agency that was forced to bend to every half-assed whim of whatever dumbass happened to control your purse strings, how effective would YOU be?

      US politicians control what missions NASA has to focus on, not NASA.

      And I'm honestly not surprised NASA problems cost 10+ times what they really ought to. Working for NASA is probably such an incredibly demoralizing thing, that they have to pay premium to everyone just to make it worth it to stay on board. I know if I was working there, I'd be demanding exactly that or I'd jump ship first opportunity I got.

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