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NASA's new lunar rover wants hunt for water on the moon



The Rover – the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER for short – is the size of a golf cart, and wants to sample the Moon's soil environments to search for evidence of water and ice.

The machine will collect data for about 100 days that will be used to create the first global water resource maps of the moon, the space agency said on Friday.

Scientists consider the lunar poles as having places to search for water ice, which could be used to provide oxygen to humans to breathe, and hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel.

NASA just detected the presence of water ice in 2009, when it crashed into a large crater near the planet's South Pole, and it has believed that it has millions of tons of water ice.

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Using scientific instruments including a one-meter drill and a neutron spectrometer system – apparatus that can detect the presence of hydrogen – the VIPER wants to help scientists to understand the location of the water and other resources on the lunar surface and aid in plan to extract it.

"The key to living on the Moon is water – the same as here on earth," said Daniel Andrews, the project manager of the VIPER mission and director of engineering at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, said in a statement , "Since the confirmation of lunar water-ice ten years ago, this rover wants to get the amount of resources we need to live off-world is, and how much there is for us to use. "

The Vehicle, which is due to land on the lunar surface in December 2022, wants to collect data on different soil environments on the Moon and map out

 The VIPER's mobility systems wants to be evaluated by a testbed, pictured.

"It's incredibly exciting to have a rover going to the new and unique environment of the South Pole to discover where exactly we can harvest that water," Anthony Colaprete, VIPER's project scientist, said in a statement.

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"VIPER wants to tell us which locations have the highest and lowest levels of access to water," he said.

NASA has said that it's ambitious to "achieve a long-term sustainable presence on the Moon – enabling humans to go to Mars and beyond."


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