News in May, 2018:
- Spaceflight Now NASA cancels lunar rover, shifts focus to commercial moon landers
- Washington Post Stunning scientists, NASA’s only moon rover just got canceled
- Space.com NASA Kills Lunar-Resources Mission Despite Push to Return to the Moon
- The Verge NASA scraps a lunar surface mission — just as it’s supposed to focus on a Moon return
News in July, 2018:
The news items above are included as background information that got me thinking of the following question.
For a similar mission of covering significant distance carrying a given experimental/observational package together with a robotic arm to pick up samples, what would be the differences between a rover build for the Moon versus a similar one built for Mars?
Would it be fairly straightforward to make small changes to a rover built for one body to optimize it for operation on the other body, or are there issues that would end up making one very different from the other?
For the purposes of this question let's call the "rover" the equivalent of a satellite's bus, and the experimental package and robotics as the "payload", and assume the payloads are identical or at least similar. Let's also assume the terrain is similarly "rover-friendly" in that there are no large rocks or extreme slopes in either case. However, there may be differences in regolith that can't be ignored, as one body has always had much more of an atmosphere than the other.