The presence of water beyond planet Earth has always been one of the most intriguing questions puzzling scientists for a long time. In recent years, it has been confirmed that water molecules indeed exist, even on the Moon. NASA is now preparing a mission to gather more detailed information on this exciting discovery.
Lunar Water Finder
Analysis of samples brought back to Earth by the first Apollo missions in the last century led scientists to believe that there was no water on the Moon. For a long time, this statement was considered valid. However, with technological advancements, it gradually became evident that the opposite was true.
In 2018, experts confirmed based on data from the Chandrayaan-1 mission that H₂O molecules are present in trace amounts in the form of ice in permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles. NASA has decided to send an exploratory probe precisely to this area, equipped with a very specific instrument.
Unique Equipment for Lunar Terrain
The vehicle named VIPER comes equipped with a set of LED headlights and other lights necessary for exploring dark craters. Unlike other missions, this equipment has not been needed before. With a size reminiscent of a golf cart and weighing 450 kilograms, the mission is scheduled to launch in November next year.
Compared to Mars missions, controlling this rover will be much simpler, as the transmitted signal has a much shorter distance to cover. VIPER will respond in a matter of seconds. The results obtained from this expedition will also serve as valuable materials for the upcoming Artemis mission, which will send a human crew back to the Moon after half a century.