NASA VIPER Rover To Hunt Water During Artemis Moon Mission

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The number of space explorations is going to peak this decade as various space agencies are gearing up for multiple missions. NASA has just shown us a glimpse of how VIPER rover would function on the Moon. The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover or VIPER will be sent for the next lunar mission.

NASA VIPER Rover To Hunt Water During Artemis Moon Mission

 

NASA VIPER Begins Testing

NASA has begun testing an engineering model of the VIPER rover at the Glenn Research Center's Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory or SLOPE. The lab is designed with surfaces that are similar to the lunar surface and other planets.

SLOPE also has a large, soil bin (which can be adjusted) that allows the engineers to collect the data to evaluate the traction of the vehicle and the wheels. The experiments have paved the way for the engineers to compare the various methods for moving the rover in steep slopes to determine the most feasible ones.

The results from the experiment will help the researchers figure out the power requirements for steep landscapes and various maneuvers. "Test data will be used to evaluate the traction of the vehicle and wheels, determine the power requirements for a variety of maneuvers and compare methods of traversing steep slopes," NASA said in an update.

NASA VIPER Rover Mission

The golf cart-sized rover will be sent to the South Pole on the Moon, the same place where the crewed Artemis mission will commence. VIPER will begin searching for water ice in the region, collect, and analyze samples with four science instruments. VIPER will be crucial to discover if the Moon has enough water to sustain future expeditions.

 

When VIPER was announced as part of the Artemis mission, the project manager Daniel Andrews had said that water was the key to living on the Moon. Astronauts had confirmed the lunar water ice a decade ago, which presented the question if the Moon also contained resources needed to live off-world.

"This rover will help us answer the many questions we have about where the water is, and how much there is for us to use," Andrews had said. There is still no confirmed launch date for VIPER, but it's scheduled to reach the Moon in December 2020. The test is one of many before the actual mission launch.

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