Apparently, the moon just isn't cool enough anymore. This surprised me, especially since the unexciting-to-non-scientists "moon plume" has made astronomers giddy about the idea of water on the moon once again (mentioned in a previous blogpost). However, since "we've already been there" (in the words of President Obama), NASA cannot gain the funding to send another person to the moon. So instead, they will send a robot.
According to the New York Times article I read, that the humanoid robot should inspire more interest than sending a man or woman in its place: "Project M’s planners say that a robot walking on the Moon would capture the imagination of students, just as the Apollo Moon landings inspired a generation of scientists and engineers 40 years ago" (article). Even more surprising is the creative funding; Stephen J. Altemus, the chief engineer at Johnson explained that "we’re doing impossible things with really very little, if any, money whatsoever" (article) According to the article, some of the more expensive pieces have been obtained through barter and small-scale but vital experiments are engineered with cheap materials from Home Depot.