On Friday, NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, stated that the US space agency works on the so-called VIPER robotic Moon mission. That consists of a lunar rover that would reach the Moon in 2022 to search for water on the Earth’s natural satellite.
During the 70th International Astronautical Congress, Jim Bridenstine announced the so-called Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) Moon mission. The lunar rover would land on the Moon’s south pole and would look for ice water there, as well as below the Moon’s surface.
“We actually have a mission right now that I’m very pleased to announce, it’s called VIPER. VIPER is going to the rover on the south pole of the moon, and VIPER is going to assess where the water ice is. We’re going to characterize the water ice, and ultimately drill and find out just how the water ice is embedded in the regolith on the moon,” NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said.
NASA Confirmed The VIPER Robotic Moon Mission
“It’s incredibly exciting to have a rover going to the new and unique environment of the south pole to discover where exactly we can harvest that water. VIPER will tell us which locations have the highest concentrations and how deep below the surface to go to get access to water,” added Anthony Colaprete, the project scientist at VIPER robotic Moon mission, in a statement.
The VIPER robotic Moon mission would cost NASA more than $250 million, and the lunar rover would launch in late 2020, aiming for the Moon’s south pole where it will search for water. The mission would take 100 days, and the US space agency would equip the rover with a neutron spectrometer to identify potential ice water deposits below the lunar surface.
VIPER lunar rover would not be more massive than a golf cart, but the current Moon lander that NASA contracted can’t carry such a big load. However, the US space agency is now searching for new contractors for landers with larger landing capabilities.