I found out where NASA’s first robot lunar rover would land.
NASA officials announced on Tuesday (September 20th) that an ice-hunting VIPER investigating a polar exploration rover will land just west of Nobile Crater near the Moon’s South Pole. Late 2023, Viper Fly to the moon on a lander, Griffin, built by Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic and launched over SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
“Choosing a VIPER landing site is an exciting and important decision for all of us,” said Daniel Andrews, VIPER Project Manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Said in a statement..
“Many years of research have been devoted to the evaluation of the polar regions that VIPER explores,” Andrews said. “VIPER goes into the unknown territory known by science, tests hypotheses, and reveals important information for future manned space exploration.”
VIPER is an important part of NASA Artemis programAims to establish a long-term and sustainable human presence on and around the Moon by the end of the 2020s. Achieving this goal requires extensive use of lunar resources, especially water ice, according to NASA officials.
Observation by NASA Lunar reconnaissance orbiter And other spacecraft suggest that the Moon harbors a particularly large amount of water ice in the Permanently Shadowed Area (PSR) near its poles. VIPER is designed to take such work seriously and tell scientists how much ice they actually have and how much humanity can access it.
The Nobile site covers 36 square miles (93 square kilometers). The 950-pound (450-kilogram) PV VIPER measures and characterizes water ice under wheels at various locations throughout Nobile, including PSR, one of the coldest locations in the entire solar system. .. VIPER does this for at least 100 Earth days using three spectrometers and a drill that takes samples up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) underground.
“The data returned by VIPER provides lunar scientists around the world with additional insights into the origin, evolution, and history of the lunar universe, and by providing a better understanding of the lunar environment. It will also help inform future Artemis missions beyond that, said Thomas Zulbuchen, director of scientific missions at NASA, in the same statement.
The VIPER team was considering four finalist landing sites near the Moon’s South Pole for four-wheeled robots. The other three were areas outside the Howers Crater. A ridgeline extending from the Shackleton crater. NASA Ames VIPER project scientist Tony Colla Prete spoke at a press conference today about spots near the shoemaker crater.
All four finalist sites are interesting and all seem to be scientifically and logically appropriate, Colaprete said.
“In the end, it was the total number of working days,” he said at a press conference today, explaining that “working days” are days when the rover has enough sunlight to operate and can communicate with the Earth. bottom. (Such communication is sent directly from VIPER to its handler. The robot does not use relay satellites.)
“It takes at least about 10 days to meet the mission requirements,” said Colapente. “We got over 40 in Nobile, and it was much bigger than any of these other places.”
The total cost of VIPER missions is expected to be approximately $ 660 million. The mission development and operation will include $ 433.5 million, and the delivery contract with Astrobotic will include approximately $ 226.5 million, including the cost of the launch. NASA officials said.. The delivery contract was signed through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.
The VIPER is NASA’s first unmanned rover that hits gray soil, but not NASA’s first wheeled lunar rover. NASA launched an astronaut-led lunar rover in the last three. Apollo program, 1971 and 1972.
NASA announces ice-hunting VIPER rover lunar landing site
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