NASA’s VIPER Mission:
NASA has chosen a landing site for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER).
- The site is on the western edge of Nobile crater, near the lunar south pole. The crater was named after Italian polar explorer Umberto Nobile.
- NASA, in July 2021, announced that it will launch its Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, in 2023.
- NASA is undertaking the mission to understand if it is possible for human life to sustain there, by using locally available resources.
About the mission:
- VIPER is a mobile robot.
- It is the first resource mapping mission on any other celestial body.
- NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) will be providing the launch vehicle and lander for what’s going to be a 100-day mission.
Objectives of the mission:
- To explore the Moon’s South Pole region.
- Help create lunar resource maps.
- Evaluate the concentration of water as well as other potential resources on its surface.
Significance of the mission:
- VIPER’s findings will inform “future landing sites under the Artemis program by helping to determine locations where water and other resources can be harvested” to sustain humans over extended stays.