NASA plans to send a robotic rover to search for water ice near a crater at the moon’s south pole.
By 2023, the instrument, the size of a small car, will sit on the edge of Noble’s 73-kilometer crater, which will always be in the shade and will not see the sun, writes BBC science editor Paul Ringen.
The task is called VIPER – “Volatiles investigating the Polar Exploration Rover”.
Developers of lunar exploration projects already anticipate it with the participation of the people, because if ice is detected, it will become an important source for lunar mission. As a source of moisture for people and as fuel for rockets.
NASA plans to bring humans back to the moon by the end of this decade.
The Artemis project is considered to be the first step in the long-term existence of humans on Earth’s satellite, the lunar base where people live.
VIPER Manager Daniel Andrews explains that their plan is to understand how easy or difficult it is to extract water ice on the moon.
“If there are a lot of these resources, if there is access to them, it really changes the essence of people’s lives [на Місяці], Will help to understand how to extract these resources, “- says the scientist.
According to several sources, researchers claim that there are billions of tons of ice in the moon’s shaded poles – the sun’s rays are not always there, and the temperature drops to 223C.
Daniel Andrews explains that the VIPER project should help you understand “where the snow is, what the concentrations are and how deep it is”.
And Anthony Coloprett, chief scientist at VIPER, predicted: “We never saw what we would see when we went to the South Pole. [Місяця]”.
“The Moon’s poles are the most spectacular places, especially at the South Pole, where ancient shockwaves like the reflection of Everest have raised mountains,” he added.
But there are many difficulties in exploring this lunar zone – it is not easy to build a lunar rover that can work on cold nights and high temperature days on the moon.
In addition, the sun rises very low above the Earth’s satellite horizon, creating long shadows and rapidly changing position.
These changes in light and shadow further complicate the path for the lunar rover, making it difficult to distinguish its automation barriers.
Project engineers need to create a comprehensive path on the lunar surface so that the lunar rover can travel adequately on the luminous surface and charge its solar panels.
This is the first NASA rover with headlights. They not only help with movement, but are also used to search for snow.
The panel will operate the device from Earth, but not in real time, but with a slight delay.
Discovered water can theoretically decompose hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used as fuel for space engines.
This project can significantly reduce the cost of space travel and create a base for them on the moon.