NASA’s VIPER Rover will explore the moon’s Relay Crater

During a teleconference with journalists on Monday, NASA researchers revealed the determined touchdown and exploration website for its upcoming VIPER lunar ice survey. Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters, introduced that the VIPER mission will land alongside the western fringe of “Relay crater” at the planet’s south pole. 


The resolution to pick out this touchdown website required balancing quite a few competing components. Mission management “considered critical parameters, such as Earth visibility — for communications from the moon to Earth — sunlight terrain that’s well suited for the rover to navigate through, and most importantly, of course, the expected presence of ice and other resources,” Glaze defined, “while analyzing all these constraints, one study area came out ahead of all the rest, maximizing science return and flexibility to help ensure mission success once Viper is on the moon.”

During its 100-day mission, the VIPER rover is predicted to analyze a minimum of six potential websites masking 10 to fifteen square-miles of lunar floor via considered one of the coldest areas in our photo voltaic system studied so far. That contains permanently-shadowed craters which have an excellent chance of probably containing water ice. 

“We really don’t know where that water is so we had to find a place where we could cover significant distances — and by significant distances I mean tens of kilometers — going in and out of thermal regimes that included everything from permanently shadowed craters with literally 50 Kelvin temperatures to areas that transitioned to a balmy 110 Kelvin, and then all the way up to 250 Kelvin,” Anthony Colaprete, Lead Project Scientist at NASA Ames stated throughout the name. “We want to study the entire range of thermal environments.” 

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