NASA’s first robotic Moon rover is almost complete

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 01-04-2024 22:42 IST | Created: 01-04-2024 22:41 IST
NASA’s first robotic Moon rover is almost complete
Image Credit: NASA/Daniel Rutter
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NASA's VIPER robotic Moon rover stands taller and more capable than ever after engineers integrated its mast in the clean room at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The mast instruments are designed to help rover drivers and real-time scientists send commands and receive data while the rover navigates around hazardous crater slopes, boulders, and places that risk communications blackouts. Before installation, the mast underwent a variety of testing and following the integration, engineers sent data through the rover using its antennas for the first time.

"VIPER’s mast, and the suite of instruments affixed to it, looks a lot like the rover’s “neck” and “head. The team will use these instruments, along with four science payloads, to scout the lunar South Pole," NASA wrote.

Short for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, VIPER will be NASA's first mobile robotic mission to the Moon. During its nearly 100-day mission, the rover will get a close-up view of the location and concentration of ice and other resources at the lunar South Pole.

The VIPER rover will be delivered to the Moon by Astrobotic's Griffin lander and SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch vehicle as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, initiative.

Data collected and transmitted by the rover back to Earth will bring scientists a significant step closer to NASA's ultimate goal of a long-term presence on the Moon, making it possible to eventually explore Mars, and beyond.

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