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NASA’s VIPER, Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover
Jaro_in_Montreal
post Oct 25 2019, 06:09 PM
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Exciting development.
But it looks like VIPER could end up like Philae - dead in the dark.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-viper-luna...ice-on-the-moon

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Phil Stooke
post Oct 25 2019, 06:26 PM
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This is essentially the same mission that was called Resource Prospector during its development. There are lots of interesting studies of traverse planning and very cool tools to help plan activities in areas of rapidly changing low angle illumination.

Phil


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vjkane
post Oct 26 2019, 12:29 AM
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One of the goals for the mission, from a conference abstract I will try to look up later, is to develop technology that allows the rover to operate in darkness (and presumably the extreme cold the permanently shadowed craters) for long periods. This is presumably without an RTG, but it may carry many radioisotope heater units.

And color me skeptical on the launch date. I'd love to be proven wrong.


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vjkane
post Oct 26 2019, 05:08 AM
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Here are two conference abstracts about VIPER and a quote from Space.com

AGU Fall 2019:
P34B-03 - An Overview of the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) Mission
A critical goal to both science and exploration is to understand the form and location of lunar polar volatiles. The lateral and vertical distributions of these volatiles inform us of the processes that control the emplacement and retention of these volatiles, as well as helping to formulate in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) architectures. While significant progress has been made from orbital observations, measurements at a range of scales from centimeters to kilometers across the lunar surface are needed to generate adequate “volatile mineral models” for use in evaluating the resource potential of volatiles at the Moon. VIPER is a solar and battery powered rover mission designed to operate over multiple lunar days, traversing several kilometers as it continuously monitors for subsurface hydrogen and other surface volatiles. In specific thermal terrain types, including permanently shadowed terrain and locales that permit near-surface ice stability, subsurface samples will be examined for volatile content using a one-meter drill. This talk will provide an overview of the VIPER mission which is scheduled for flight to the Lunar South Pole in December 2022.

Space,com
https://www.space.com/viper-nasa-moon-rover.html"" target="_blank">Space.com VIPER

VIPER would let engineers test technologies designed to let lunar rovers work through the night, but it wouldn't tackle those specific science measurements. Instead, according to Bailey's presentation last month, there are four primary instruments that NASA is eyeing for VIPER.
Two of those instruments were under development for Resource Prospector; NASA also included both in a list of a dozen instruments selected in February to land on the moon as early as this year. (Bailey said they are scheduled to fly on board Astrobotic's lunar lander, which is due to fly in the summer of 2021.)
Those projects are the Neutron Spectrometer System, which measures hydrogen in the lunar surface; and the Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System, or NIRVSS, which can study volatile composition, mineralogy and surface temperature.
A third instrument NASA is eyeing for VIPER is a drill designed to reach about 3 feet (1 meter) into the lunar regolith.

LEAG 2019
The Near InfraRed Volatiles Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) [#5057]
The Near InfraRed Volatiles Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) is an integrated set of sensors meant to identify volatiles, especially water, and characterize the scene environments relevant to volatile retention or form. NIRVSS consists of three main subsystems including 1) a Near InfraRed (NIR) point spectrometer and lamp that measures reflectance between 1300 to 4000 nm with a spectral resolution ranging from about 15Nm to 30nm, 2) a 4 Mpxl Science Context Imager, integrated with seven sets of LEDs ranging in wavelengths from 340 nm to 940 nm, and 3) the Longwave Calibration Sensor (LCS), a four-channel thermal radiometer that measures scene temperatures between <100K and 400K. Currently a flight unit is being built for flight on Astrobotic’s maiden flight (Mission 1) to Lacos Mortis in July 2021. NIRVSS is also part of the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) payload suite, making measurements while roving and of subsurface drill cuttings.


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Steve G
post Nov 24 2019, 07:10 PM
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Good news. See link

https://spacenews.com/nasa-confirms-plans-t...er-to-the-moon/

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atomoid
post Nov 27 2019, 02:26 AM
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looks like the whole pallet lander design concept might be taking off (er 'landing') as part of the Artemis CLPS push, PDF
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