NASA is sending a mobile robot to the surface of the South Pole of the Moon to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of ice and other resources. The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is the first resource-mapping mission on another celestial body. VIPER will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use to support future human space exploration. Scientifically, ground-truthing the water presence at rover/human scales can tackle open questions on the origin of the water, hydroxyl, and other volatiles, how much is there today, how did it get there, and equally important, why is it still there? This talk summarizes the motivations for, the design of, the challenges at lunar poles, and the significance of this mission.
Speaker: Dr. KIimberly Ennico Smith, NASA Ames
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