Watch NASA placing its VIPER lunar rover by its paces


NASA has launched a video displaying off the newest prototype of its VIPER moon rover.
Brief for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, VIPER will seek for ice and different assets when it reaches the moon’s south pole in November 2023.
The video (under) was shot at NASA Glenn’s Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory, or SLOPE mattress, and reveals the rover tackling a variety of surfaces and obstacles just like what it should expertise on the lunar floor.

Roll 'em out… on the Moon 🌕
Our VIPER rover's newest prototype is getting put to the check at @NASAGlenn, as we get able to seek for ice and different @NASAArtemis assets on the lunar South Pole:
— NASA (@NASA) January 26, 2022
The most recent prototype of the four-wheel rover, referred to as Moon Gravitation Consultant Unit 3 (MGRU3), has the identical wheel design and base dimension because the rover that’s heading to the moon. The prototype’s motors, gearboxes, and joints are additionally the identical as those who will likely be fitted to the ultimate design.
“This check was the third mobility evaluation performed by VIPER at SLOPE to gather crucial knowledge on the software program mobility controls, the onboard navigation system, and mobility efficiency over hazards and on unfastened soil,” NASA stated in an article on its web site. “For over two weeks, the group used the power’s distinctive capabilities to drive MGRU3 over varied obstacles and up steep slopes.”
NASA stated the info gathered from this and different exams will assist the group to plan the most secure routes for the rover when it begins exploring the moon’s difficult terrain subsequent 12 months.
A extra superior VIPER prototype will return to NASA Glenn’s lab for additional testing within the spring, described by the area company because the rover’s “last examination” the place will probably be aiming to satisfy design necessities with its {hardware}, software program, and electronics.
NASA has described VIPER’s analysis web site on the moon’s south pole as “one of many coldest areas in our photo voltaic system,” its icy situations the results of some components being completely shadowed from the solar. To date, exploration of the realm has concerned using distant sensing tools on passing orbiters. Expectations are due to this fact excessive that the 100-day VIPER mission will make some breakthrough discoveries relating to ice and different assets, findings that might show very important for future crewed missions to the moon and past.
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the mission from the Kennedy House Middle in Florida subsequent 12 months. VIPER will then be delivered to the lunar floor by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander as a part of NASA’s Industrial Lunar Payload Providers program.
To be taught extra about NASA’s VIPER mission, take a look at this informative Digital Tendencies article.

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