NASA has chosen a moon landing site for its ice research robot

The US space agency hopes the rover will have the ability to confirm the presence of icy water just below the lunar surface. This could one day be converted into rocket fuel for missions to Mars and beyond in the cosmos.

Nobile Crater is an impact crater near the South Pole that arose from a collision with another smaller celestial bodyLori Glaze, director of the planetary science division of the NASA.

It is one of the coldest regions in the solar system and has only been probed remotely so far, using sensors such as those aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater. Observation and Sensing Satellite.

The rover vehicle will get to know the lunar soil very closely, even drilling to a depth of one meter.

A quote from:Lori Glaze, director of the planetary science division of the NASA

The robot is named VIPER, acronym for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover.

It weighs 430 kg and its dimensions are similar to those of a golf cart: 1.5 m by 1.5 m by 2.5 m. It also has some similarities to the Star Wars droids.

Unlike the astromobile vehicles used on Mars, VIPER can be piloted in real time, due to a much shorter distance between Earth and the Moon – only 300,000 km or 1.3 light seconds.

It is also faster and travels at around 0.8 km / h.

Powered by solar energy, VIPER has a 50 hour battery and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures. It can also move like a crab so that these panels can be pointed towards the sun at all times.

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The team behind VIPER will investigate how the ice water first reached the Moon, how it has been preserved for billions of years, how it escapes and to where.

The mission is part of Artemis, the American project to return humans to the moon.

The first manned mission is officially scheduled for 2024, but will certainly take place much later, since several parts of the project are already late.

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