HomeTop StoriesNasa's ice-hunting VIPER Moon rover prepares for launch - Times of India

Nasa’s ice-hunting VIPER Moon rover prepares for launch – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Nasa‘s upcoming lunar mission, the VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover), has taken a significant step forward as it prepares to head to the Moon later this year. VIPER project manager Dan Andrews recently announced, “All of VIPERs flight instruments are installed, and the rover is more than 80% built!” He described this progress as a major achievement, reflecting the hard work of the dedicated VIPER team, who are eager to see their efforts come to fruition.
The rover’s mission is to explore the lunar south pole, searching for water ice and other resources.This exploration is crucial for supporting Nasa’s Artemis astronauts, including the first woman and the first person of color scheduled to walk on the moon in the Artemis 3 mission, targeted for 2026. Over a 100-day period, VIPER will traverse the lunar south pole region, creating detailed maps to locate water ice and assess the feasibility of resource extraction.
VIPER is set to become the first resource mapping mission on another celestial body, significantly contributing to the goal of establishing a long-term human presence on the moon. Unlike previous missions, which collected data from lunar orbit, VIPER will examine the lunar surface directly, using advanced scientific instruments and a 1-meter drill to probe the soil at various depths.
The rover will face the extreme conditions of the moon, including the intense cold of permanently shadowed regions and challenging terrain. The VIPER team is conducting thorough tests on the rover’s systems, including “channelization” tests to ensure all components, such as cable harnesses and connectors, are functioning correctly. Andrews emphasized the importance of this “test as we go” approach to mitigate risks and resolve any issues before the rover becomes inaccessible on the lunar surface.
The VIPER team remains optimistic as they continue the rigorous testing and assembly process, with Andrews rallying, “Go VIPER!”

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