NASA sets landing site for rover that will “sniff” water on the Moon in 2023

As part of the Artemis program, NASA will send the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon on 1024. Now, the US space agency said the rover will land near the western edge of the crater Nobile, at the south lunar pole, to map and explore the region in search of resources such as water. The VIPER will be launched from SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket aboard Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar module. search for frozen water at the south pole of the Moon

  • NASA approves a mission that will detect and map water on the surface of the Moon
  • Scientists find proof that the Moon harbors frozen water at its poles

    The south pole of the Moon is the most targeted objective of upcoming manned missions. For now, the region has only been mapped and studied remotely, with data obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) probe. Data from missions like this one helped scientists understand that ice and other potential resources exist in permanently shadowed areas of the Moon — in this case, in the craters found there.

    Mountain area west of Nobile crater (Image : Reproduction/NASA)

    After a long work evaluating which would be the best landing site for the VIPER mission, the team chose the mountainous region west of Nobile crater. According to NASA, this point was defined because of its terrain accessible to a rover and the variety of nearby sites that are of scientific interest, including those areas that are always in shadow.

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    Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA science explained that once on the lunar surface, VIPER will provide true ground measurements to detect the presence of water and other resources at the south pole of the Moon. evolution and history of our natural satellite.

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    The Nobile crater formed through a collision with another smaller celestial body and is almost all the time covered by shadows, which allows the existence of water ice there. The rover will also investigate smaller craters around the perimeter. “VIPER is entering uncharted territory — informed by science — to test hypotheses and reveal critical information for future human space exploration,” added Daniel Andrews, VIPER project manager.

    To define At the site, the NASA team considered where the VIPER could use its solar panels to get power and stay warm during a mission to days, with the area close to Nobile crater guaranteeing this feat. The trajectory defined so far will allow the rover to visit at least six other places of scientific interest — with plenty of time.

    From the VIPER, the team also hopes to understand how to frozen water and other resources arrived on the Moon and how they remained preserved for billions of years — or, if they escaped, where they went.

    Source: NASA

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