The space agency confirmed its tasks for the upcoming VIPER project (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) back in October 2019. The project is part of the Artemis mission to send astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
VIPER is developed to map water ice on the Moon’s ground, which exploration researchers want to turn into rocket fuel and drinking water. At the time of releasing the statement, VIPER was ready to liftoff in December 2022, but the schedules period has now been postponed to 2021. VIPER’s tasks will include gathering up to 200 days of information, survive lunar nights, and travel a lot of kilometers, according to Thomas Zurbuchen, the head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
Such a project will allow many upgrades to be established so that VIPER can move further with its exciting mission on the Moon.
VIPER’s Duty on The Moon’s Surface
Even if VIPER is a new project, under Artemis’ program, it is based very much on concepts for a previous mission, known as Resource Prospector, which NASA removed it back in 2018. Two of VIPER’s tools were used from work on that project.
So, the rover’s tool suite is made to give scientists a way to swift the orbital information they got about the Moon. They will turn the results into a perception of accurately where lunar ice is covered – not only in the area VIPER reaches but across the Moon’s ground. NASA will develop VIPER, then utilize its journey through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which now involves 14 companies that can bid on deliveries.
After Zurbuchen’s statement, no other additional information about what those upgrades might be. It will be quite the mission to observe, mainly VIPER will be engaged in a long, 100-day science project. The project is set to launch and find lunar water on the Moon by 2023.