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NASA Begins Building VIPER – Its First Robotic Moon Rover


Published on: March 22, 2023,

The Volatile Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) is mobile robot that will venture to the South Pole of the Moon to examine the location and density of water ice, which could be utilized to sustain human exploration on the Moon and the Mars. It is developed by NASA.  NASA’s first robotic lunar rover is officially coming together and the team building it is over the Moon. Engineers have affixed the rover’s lower chassis plate and lower parts of the frame that will support Viper. It will hold robotic components that will one day be on the surface of the Moon. Hardware for VIPER is coming from all over the world and includes some manufactured at several NASA centers.


“I’m super excited. It makes me very proud of all the time and effort the team has invested to get this far,” said David Petri, system integration and test lead for the volatiles (VIPER). The team recently began assembling the 1000 pound rover at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The first step will be integration and once the integration is complete they will put the completed rover through a series of stressful function, performance and operational tests. Also software engineers in California’s Silicon Valley will test the brains of the rover before it is integrated with rover hardware.


Once of the Moon, VIPER will explore and study the environment to better understand the origin and distribution of lunar water and other potential resources. With such findings it will help to determine where and how the Moon’s resources can be harvested to sustain humans on the Moon for the Artemis program and future human space exploration in deep space.




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