NASA is now getting ready for a new mission on the Moon! The space agency has recently announced its plans to land a rover on a Moon’s south pole region, known as the Nobile Crater.
The rover, dubbed VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover), will soon go on an ice-hunting mission on the Moon.
Curious to find out more?
VIPER’s Mission Revealed
NASA’s VIPER rover will land on the Moon’s south pole by 2023. The space agency aims to find and confirm the presence of water ice underneath the Nobile Crater’s surface.
That could end up one day end up as rocket fuel for future missions to Mars or even deeper in the Universe. How great is that?
The picture below is an illustration of NASA’s VIPER on the surface of the Moon:
The Nobile Crater
The region is one of the Solar System’s coldest regions. So far, scientists have examined the area via sensors, like NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.
“Nobile Crater is an impact crater near the south pole that was born through a collision with another smaller celestial body,” explained Lori Glaze, the director of NASA’s planetary science division.
VIPER Goals and Skills
The rover’s mission includes:
- reaching the lunar soil
- drilling several feet down
- finding how frozen water reached the Moon initially
- how frozen water remained preserved for billions of years
- how frozen water escapes
- where is the frozen water now
VIPER is only 1.5 meters by 1.5 meters by 2.5 meters (five feet by five feet by eight feet), and it resembles a Star Wars droid. The rover weighs 430 kilograms (950 pounds).
The best part is that VIPER is solar-powered and comes with a great 50-hour battery, made to withstand extreme temperatures! And unlike other rovers, VIPER can be piloted in near real-time.
This mission is part of Artemis, NASA’s plan to return humans to the Moon.