Everything About Viper- NASA’s Water Finding Lunar Rover 

January 3, 2023 5 mins to read

We do not know yet if a person can sustain life on any planet other than Earth. And this would not be wrong to say that a person cannot travel to every planet to know if they can survive there or not. Therefore, specially designed devices come into the picture. One of these devices is designed by NASA that will be sent to the moon in the upcoming year. The device is known as Volatile Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, in short VIPER.   

What is VIPER?  

NASA has decided to launch its first robotic lunar rover to the moon’s south pole. Volatile Investigating Polar Exploration Rover will be sent to the moon somewhere at the end of the year 2023. The rover will be sent to the southern part of the moon because the area does not have much exposure to sunlight. It will venture to the south pole of the moon for almost a hundred days to locate the presence of water on the moon. The VIPER has almost three different spectrometers that will allow it to survive on the moon. These spectrometers are neutron spectrometers, infrared spectrometers, and mass spectrometers. Through these instruments, VIPER can reduce the chance of damage to it and can stay for a longer period on the moon.  

Purpose and functioning of the VIPER 

  • To find the presence of water on the moon  

The elementary function of the VIPER is to search for the presence of water on the moon’s south pole. Basically, the southern part of the moon is a shady area because it is not exposed to sunlight. VIPER will be shipped to this area to know about the amount of water the south pole consists of. According to the prior missions done by NASA, they believe that the lunar poles have an existence of around 600 billion kilograms of water ice. The amount of water can be more since it is not the exact kilograms that we know now. To know that amount VIPER will be used.  

  • Will tell everything about the water  

If the mission to the south pole gets successful then the rover will prove very useful to know everything about the existence of water ice. It will inform us of the area where water can be found and its origin and nature, and also whether that water can be used to sustain life on the moon or not. It will also tell us how much of the water is present in the ice form. This traced position of water ice can later be used to know the true origin of water and how exactly it reached the solar system.  

  • Temperature Resistance 

A rover is made with special features so that it can stay on the moon for a longer period. It is also prepared to handle any mishap that can occur at any time. Since VIPER will be sent to dark areas where the temperature can reach up to -400 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is sufficient enough to freeze the parts of the rover. Therefore, it is designed to withstand the lower temperature on the moon. But it will stay there for almost 100 days, it also requires heat for the proper functioning of its parts. For that, the rover is fixed with the heaters that will help the rover to stay warm. The rover can move to an area where a little exposure to the sun is possible, where it can get the energy to keep itself warm, and can also charge its solar panels. These panels will further help the rover from freezing. The rover can withstand the temperature but for proper functioning, it needs heat too. 

  • It has cameras 

The rover can send continuous signals to the earth if it does not travel to the mountainous area. Irregular places like mountains can interrupt the path of signals. To avoid such conditions the rover is built with cameras that will allow it to prevent dangerous areas. Apart from that, the cameras will also take pictures of the area covered by the rover. These images can be used for further research on lunar surfaces. 

Life on the Moon 

VIPER is technically to know about the resources it has and has not been identified before. These resources can make the possibility for humans to survive on the moon. We all know that water is a basic component of our lives and one cannot live without it. If VIPER can trace any amount of water on the surface of the moon, then the chances of living on the moon will increase. NASA before VIPER has never sent any rover to the moon. We just know about the people who set their foot on the surface of the moon. This will be the first time that NASA will be sending any mobile robot to the moon to gather any kind of information. VIPER can prove very helpful for the future. 

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