2021-06-01

NASA rover will search for water and other resources on the moon

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NASA rover will search for water and other resources on the moon

The design of VIPER requires the use of the first headlight on the lunar rover Help explore permanent shadow areas on the moon. These areas have not seen sunlight for billions of years and are the coldest places in the solar system. As it relies on solar energy to operate, VIPER will need to quickly maneuver in the extreme changes of light and darkness at the south pole of the moon.

Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Department at NASA Washington Headquarters, said: “The data collected through VIPER may help our scientists determine the precise location and location of water ice on the moon. Purity, and will help us assess the environment and potential resources of the lunar south pole, and prepare Artemis astronauts to visit the moon. This is another example of how robotic science missions and human exploration can go hand in hand. It also illustrates the establishment of a moon on the moon. When sustainable, robotic science missions and human exploration are both very necessary.”

As part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Service (CLPS) program, NASA awarded Astrobotic a mission order , Used for VIPER launch, transport and transport to the lunar surface.

NASA rover will search for water and other resources on the moon(1)

Once boarded On the moon, VIPER will use a special set of wheels and suspension systems to explore lunar craters to cover various slopes and soil types. The design of VIPER greatly enhances the concept of robots in the previous “Resource Prospector” mission, which NASA cancelled in early 2018. Since then, the mission period of VIPER has been extended from 1 lunar day to 3 lunar days (100 earth days). VIPER’s mission concept has further strengthened its scientific capabilities and can collect more data on the surface of the moon.

VIPER will carry four instruments, including a weathered layer and an ice drill (TRIDENT) hammer drill to explore new terrain, a mass spectrometer (MSolo) to observe the operation of the moon, a near-infrared volatile spectrometer system (NIRVSS) and Neutron Spectrometer System (NSS). Early versions of these instruments will be tested on the lunar surface before the VIPER mission, allowing mission teams to reduce risks and test instrument performance data.

MSolo, NVSS and NIRVSS will reach the moon through Astrobotic’s first commercial lunar payload service flight. The versions of TRIDENT and MSolo will be demonstrated with the Polar Resources Ice Mine Experiment (PRIME-1) technology demonstration at the end of 2022 Arrived on the moon, delivered by Intuitive Machines in its second commercial lunar payload service flight.

The design of VIPER has come a long way. After completing the design and conception phase, NASA recently approved the rover to enter the mission development phase. Since then, VIPER’s progress has continued to advance at full speed. NASA’s investment in mission development and operations for this medium-sized rover is $433.5 million. Astrobotic’s delivery contract for VIPER to the moon through commercial lunar payload services is valued at approximately $226.5 million.

Sarah Noble, a VIPER project scientist from NASA headquarters, said: “VIPER will be the most capable robot ever sent by NASA to the surface of the moon. It will enable us to explore humans. An area of ​​the moon that has never been seen before. The rover will enable us to understand the origin and distribution of water on the moon, and prepare us to harvest 240,000 miles of resources from the earth, which can be used to safely send astronauts to include ≈ within Mars.”

In the entire Artemis project, NASA will further explore the moon by sending robots and humans. When the astronauts return to the surface of the moon for the first time since 1972, they will follow the wheel of VIPER and land on the south pole of the moon. The Artemis mission will include landing the first female astronaut on the moon. The female astronaut will become one of the two astronauts who will pave the way for manned sustainable lunar exploration missions.