In 2023, NASA will launch the VIPER mission to map the Moon’s water and other resources.
In 2023, NASA will launch the VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) to obtain a closer look at the Moon’s the South Pole and assess the concentration of water and other possible resources on its surface. The objective of the space agency is to determine whether human life can be sustained on the planet utilizing locally available resources. According to NASA, the VIPER mobile robot is the first resource mapping expedition on another celestial world.
The launch vehicle and lander for the 100-day mission will be provided by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). VIPER, which looks like a golf cart and weighs 430 kilos, is 5 feet by 5 feet and weighs 430 kilograms, according to the agency. According to NASA’s website, the Moon rover will examine water ice on the surface and subsurface of the celestial world. The VIPER will test the same at different depths and temperatures on the moon’s four primary soil conditions.
The data from the Lunar rover will be sent to Earth, where it will be used to create resource maps. It will also assist scientists in determining the location and concentration of frozen water on the Moon, including ice crystals and molecules chemically linked to other minerals. VIPER’s results will help NASA decide “future landing sites under the Artemis program by helping to pinpoint places where water and other resources may be collected” to support people for long periods of time, according to NASA.
The results may be game-changing, according to the agency, because it’s impossible to transport everything to the Moon, Mars, and beyond for long-term exploration. It will utilize the information gathered by VIPER to identify where the water ice is most likely to be discovered and accessible. This is a significant step forward in NASA’s Artemis mission, which aims to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon’s surface by 2028.
Satellites circling the Moon as part of previous missions, according to NASA, have helped us learn that the Moon’s surface has water ice. They must, however, understand more about it up close and personal before they may utilize it one day. “VIPER will wander the Moon with its three sensors and a 3.28-foot (1-meter) drill, detecting and analyzing diverse lunar soil conditions at a variety of depths and temperatures,” the agency stated. “The rover will go to permanently shadowed craters, among of the solar system’s coldest places, where water ice stores have lasted billions of years.”
Extreme temperature conditions, changing lighting, and diverse terrain are all obstacles. The crew will face additional technical and design problems when the rover is driven in near real-time.