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Thread: NASA's VIPER lunar rover

  1. #1
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    NASA's VIPER lunar rover

    "New VIPER lunar rover to map water ice on the Moon"

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/New..._Moon_999.html

    NASA is sending a mobile robot to the South Pole of the Moon to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice in the region and for the first time ever, actually sample the water ice at the same pole where the first woman and next man will land in 2024 under the Artemis program.

    About the size of a golf cart, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, will roam several miles, using its four science instruments - including a 1-meter drill - to sample various soil environments. Planned for delivery to the lunar surface in December 2022, VIPER will collect about 100 days of data that will be used to inform the first global water resource maps of the Moon.
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    "NASA awards Pittsburgh startup Astrobotic with $200 million to send water-hunting rover to the moon"

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/11/nasa...-the-moon.html

    NASA awarded Pittsburgh-based space robotics startup Astrobotic with nearly $200 million on Thursday for a key lunar mission, which will hunt for deposits of frozen water the moon.

    Astrobotic will be responsible for launching the rover, called VIPER, and landing it near the moon’s south pole in late 2023. The company will use its Griffin lander to deliver the VIPER rover to the lunar surface under the $199.5 million contract. Astrobotic has 74 employees on staff, the company told CNBC, working on its Peregrine and Griffin lunar landers.
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    "The Lunar VIPER rover and the space economy"

    https://spaceq.ca/the-lunar-viper-ro...space-economy/

    Today is December 21st, the Winter Solstice, and also the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. For the Space Economy podcast, it is the beginning of our annual three part Winter Series where we feature content from other creators.

    This year we’re featuring three episodes all related to NASA’s return to the Moon with the Artemis program, and all are intertwined in the space economy of today and tomorrow.

    The first episode is on NASA’s VIPER rover, a precursor science mission that does double duty in providing new data that will help scientists better understand the Earth-Moon dynamic, while at the same time providing key data to those interested in using lunar resources as part of a future lunar economy. The content originated from the Future in Space Operations weekly teleconference. The guest speaker is Dan Andrews, Director of Engineering at NASA’s Ames Research Center. The presentation that goes with this podcast is available below.
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    "VIPER lunar rover mission cost increases"

    https://spacenews.com/viper-lunar-ro...ost-increases/

    A NASA rover mission to look for ice at the south pole of the moon has passed a key review, but now costs significantly more than previously advertised.

    NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission passed its confirmation review Feb. 24, the agency said in a statement. That allows the mission to move into implementation ahead of a launch scheduled for late 2023.

    “We’re now ready to finish the design and operational planning for this rover, and then start building it,” said Daniel Andrews, project manager for VIPER at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the lead center for the mission, in an agency statement.

    The cost of the mission has gone up significantly. At the time NASA announced VIPER in October 2019, it projected a cost of about $250 million. As part of the confirmation review, known as Key Decision Point C, NASA set a formal cost commitment for the mission. NASA spokesperson Alison Hawkes said March 3 that the new lifecycle cost for the mission is $433.5 million.
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    Will they select a FH to launch or would that be overkill?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bknight View Post
    Will they select a FH to launch or would that be overkill?
    unless they are sending other things with it, it would be a overkill.
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    "NASA plans to send lunar rover to Nobile region of moon's South Pole"

    https://www.upi.com/Science_News/202...2011632154148/

    NASA's ice-hunting VIPER lunar rover, scheduled to arrive on the moon in 2023, would land near the Nobile Crater on the lunar South Pole, the space agency announced Monday.

    The crater offers a relatively safe area to hunt for water ice, which is considered crucial for long-term Artemis missions to explore the moon and eventually Mars, NASA officials said. The ice could provide a water supply and even liquid oxygen rocket fuel.
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  8. #8
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    Only a couple of years until launch.

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    nasa viper moon rover landing site

    ....The ice-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will land just west of Nobile Crater, which sits near the moon's south pole, NASA officials announced today (Sept. 20). In late 2023, VIPER will fly to the moon aboard Griffin, a lander built by Pittsburgh-based company Astrobotic that will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.....

    The VIPER team had been considering four finalist landing sites near the lunar south pole for the four-wheeled robot. The other three were an area outside Haworth Crater; a ridgeline running from Shackleton Crater; and a spot near Shoemaker Crater, VIPER project scientist Tony Colaprete of NASA Ames said during a news conference today.

    All four finalist sites are intriguing, and all appear to be suitable both scientifically and logistically, Colaprete said.

    "Ultimately, it came down to total number of working days," he said during today's news conference, explaining that a "working day" is one in which the rover has enough sunlight to operate and can also communicate with Earth. (Such communication will be direct from VIPER to its handlers; the robot will not use a relay satellite.)
    Interesting to read about the 4 shortlisted locations.

    For a human landing mission, near Shackleton crater is often mentioned as a likely landing location. Not only is the crater believed to contain millions of tonnes of water ice it is just 100km or so away from Mons Malapert that is in full sunlight 87% of the time and partial sunlight 4% of the time. So a base between the two locations seems an attractive option.

    But maybe it would be possible to get from the west of Nobile to Mons Malapert just as easily? In fact it looks nearer on my rather crude Moon atlas app! Not that they would want to do that with this rover. Learning about the ice is the priority.

  10. #10
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    I looked up Nobile Crater on Wikipedia to see if it was named after the polar explorer Umberto Nobile. The article doesn't say, but since all the nearby craters are named after polar explorers I assume it is.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I looked up Nobile Crater on Wikipedia to see if it was named after the polar explorer Umberto Nobile. The article doesn't say, but since all the nearby craters are named after polar explorers I assume it is.
    Spot on. Eponym: Umberto Nobile.

    Haworth crater is apparently named after Sir Walter Norman Haworth, a British chemist best known for his work on Vitamin C.

  12. #12
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    I first of Nobile when I saw the film The Red Tent when in the Army, 50 years ago. It hadn't occurred to me until I looked it up yesterday that he was still alive at the time. Just seemed so far in the past!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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