MUSES rover Contact: Martha Heil (818) 354-0850

NASA has canceled development of a miniature rover,
which would have been part of the U.S. contribution to a
Japanese mission to an asteroid. The primary reasons for the
cancellation were rising costs and weight.

NASA’s Acting Director of Solar System Exploration, Dr.
Jay Bergstralh, today ordered the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif., to stop work on the MUSES-CN nanorover and
instead transfer the material and resources already
developed to be available for possible use in other
projects. “The decision to cancel the MUSES-CN nanorover
was difficult and distasteful; it certainly represents lost
opportunities,” added Bergstralh. “In the end, however,
there was no viable alternative.”

Bergstralh said NASA will hold discussions with the
Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science to
consider alternative cooperation in the Mu Space Engineering
Spacecraft-C (MUSES-C) mission, the first asteroid sample
return mission, scheduled for launch in late 2002. The
designation “MUSES-CN” referred specifically to the NASA

The MUSES-CN rover was originally expected to cost $21
million, but had recently experienced significant cost
growth, resulting in a management and cost review at NASA
Headquarters. The rover was small enough to fit in the palm
of a hand and weighed a little more than 2 1/2 lbs. The
rover would have been equipped with visible-light and
infrared cameras and could be modified for use on other
places such as comets, moons of other planets and on Mars.
More information on the MUSES-CN rover is available at .