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Topic: NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover

NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover looks to launch in 2023

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s new water-hunting mission to the Moon, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, has received agency-level approval to move from formulation into implementation of the final design of the rover. This puts the mission one step closer to launching to the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023.

The decision follows VIPER passing the important preliminary design review milestone in August, in which the mission successfully demonstrated to NASA’s Planetary Science Division and the independent VIPER review team that it can meet all the requirements with an acceptable level of risk within cost and schedule restraints.

NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER rover set to launch in 2023. (APSU)

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER rover set to launch in 2023. (APSU)

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Astrobotic picked to send NASA’s VIPER rover to Moon’s South Pole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has awarded Astrobotic of Pittsburgh $199.5 million to deliver NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023.

The water-seeking mobile VIPER robot will help pave the way for astronaut missions to the lunar surface beginning in 2024 and will bring NASA a step closer to developing a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program.

Illustration of NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) on the surface of the Moon. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

Illustration of NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) on the surface of the Moon. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

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NASA tests VIPER Moon Rover Instruments for Lunar Flight

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When NASA’s new Moon rover, VIPER, lands on the lunar surface to begin its hunt for water ice at the poles, it will be equipped for the job with instruments that have already been battle-tested in this harsh environment.

Prior to the launch of VIPER, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, versions of these instruments will have flown as payloads on two earlier deliveries to the Moon by commercial providers under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.

Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley assemble the Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System in preparation for its 2021 flight to the Moon. While assembling the instrument inside the NIRVSS clean room, integration engineer Amanda Cook uses ultraviolet light to inspect the four infrared detectors on the NIRVSS Longwave Calibration Sensor for cleanliness, before fastening the board into its enclosure. (NASA / Ames Research Center / Dominic Hart)

Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley assemble the Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System in preparation for its 2021 flight to the Moon. While assembling the instrument inside the NIRVSS clean room, integration engineer Amanda Cook uses ultraviolet light to inspect the four infrared detectors on the NIRVSS Longwave Calibration Sensor for cleanliness, before fastening the board into its enclosure. (NASA / Ames Research Center / Dominic Hart)

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NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover prepared to handle Moon Dust

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – NASA says that Moon dust is a formidable adversary – the grains are as fine as powder and as sharp as tiny shards of glass.

During the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon, the astronauts lamented how the dust found its way into everything, coating their spacesuits and jamming the shoulder joints, getting inside their lunar habitat and even causing symptoms of a temporary “lunar dust hay fever” in astronaut Harrison Schmitt. Those symptoms fortunately went away quickly – but the problem of Moon dust remains for future missions.

Robotics engineer Jason Schuler performs a preliminary test to prepare for dust testing of various seals for the wheel motors on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, March 17, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test takes place in a bin holding more than 120 tons of simulated lunar regolith – loose dirt, dust and rock – that is used to help simulate the properties of the lunar surface. (NASA/Cory Huston)

Robotics engineer Jason Schuler performs a preliminary test to prepare for dust testing of various seals for the wheel motors on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, March 17, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test takes place in a bin holding more than 120 tons of simulated lunar regolith – loose dirt, dust and rock – that is used to help simulate the properties of the lunar surface. (NASA/Cory Huston)

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NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover will explore the Moon’s South Pole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – 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.

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice.?The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice.?The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

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