- On September 20, 2021, NASA announced that it will land an ice hunter on an area of the Moon’s South Pole known as Nobile Crater in 2023.
- NASA will be landing in Nobile crater to the Moon’s south pole to map and explore the area’s surface for water.
- As part of the Artemis mission, VIPER will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket as the part of initiative taken by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Service.
NOBILE CRATER ON MOON –
- Located in the Moon’s Antarctic region, Nobile Crater is an impact crater, which was formed by collision with other small celestial body. It is almost enveloped in darkness, making it the best suitable environment for ice to exist.
- The South Pole of the Moon is one of the coldest regions in our solar system. There have been no missions that have landed on the Moon to explore it.
- To date, scientists have studied the area using remote sensing instruments, including those from NASA’s Lunar Sensor and Observation Satellite and the Crater Observation and Observation Satellite.
- The data from previous remote sensing missions have helped scientists in concluding that water ice along with other resources exist below the surface in permanently shaded regions of the Moon near its poles.
- VIPER, also known as Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover is a mobile robot, that was developed by NASA and will land in an area of the Moon’s South Pole called the Nobile Crater in the year 2023.
- It is similar in size to a golf cart, that measures 5 feet x 5 feet x 8 feet and weighs about 950 pounds (430 kg). Its top speed is 0.5 mph (0.8 km/h).
- The VIPER will be on a mission that will last for 100 Earth days, which is 3 lunar day and night cycles.
- The Rover will be exploring presence of water as well as other important resources at the South Pole of Moon and its surrounding areas. Also, it will be studying the Nobile Crater region, which is an area of approximately 36 sq. miles.
- It is the first rover having headlights to explore the dark sides of moon, where there is not sunlight. It will collect samples from minimum 3 drill locations while moving across the region.