As recently as two decades ago, our understanding of the Moon was very different. We believed the Moon was fairly uniform and very, very dry. Recent missions have upended that vision, showing that water exists on the lunar poles, both on and below the surface. But many questions remain about the nature, abundance, origin, and distribution of water and other volatile materials. As well, NASA wants to know whether those materials can be practically harvested for use by future manned missions. The VIPER mission is one of the next steps to answering those questions. VIPER will land a mobile rover on the lunar south pole in order to prospect for and map the distribution of water and other volatiles. This talk will give an overview of the mission objectives, characteristics of the rover and instruments to meet those objectives, unique challenges for VIPER, and the overall mission planning.
Speaker: Mark Rose, NASA
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