NASA has invited people to send their names to the surface of the Moon aboard the agency’s first robotic lunar rover VIPER – short for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover.
- The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER will get a close-up view of the location and concentration of ice and other resources at the Moon’s South Pole.
- It is NASA’s first mobile robotic mission to the Moon.
- It will directly analyse ice on the surface and subsurface of the Moon at varying depths and temperature conditions within four main soil environments.
- The data VIPER transmits back to Earth will be used to create resource maps, helping scientists determine the location and concentration of ice on the Moon and the forms it’s in, such as ice crystals or molecules chemically bound to other materials.
- It navigates across the rugged terrain of the lunar South Pole and gathers valuable data that will help us better understand the history of the Moon and the environment where NASA is planning to send Artemis astronauts.
- Mission duration:100 Earth days, covering 3 cycles of lunar day and night.
- It will land at the South Pole of the Moon in late 2024.