Will the rover ‘Viper’ to find ice for the first exploration of the Moon Antarctica?

The western end of Nobile Crater in Antarctica has been selected as the landing site for the first rover to be sent to the moon by the United States, which is seeking to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), this is one of the coldest places in the solar system, and it is known that there is ice of water in a permanently shaded area that does not receive sunlight.

A number of unmanned explorations are conducted before male and female astronauts recreate the glory of landing on the moon. will investigate

So far, satellites, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have produced results from telemetry equipment in lunar orbit that there will be ice in the permanent shadow area, but no ground exploration has been carried out.

A total of $433 million (510 billion won) will be invested in the production and operation of the Viper, and it will land on the surface of the moon aboard the lander ‘Griffin’, which will be built by a private company ‘Astrobotic’.

After much deliberation, NASA is said to have chosen a mountainous area at the western end of Nobile Crater as the landing site.

It is said that various factors were comprehensively considered, such as whether it is a geographically accessible place for the viper, whether it has a variety of terrain to study ice distribution, including permanent shadows, and communication connection with the earth. We also considered whether the viper, which is powered by a solar panel, could be recharged on a regular basis.

Nobile Crater is a place where other celestial bodies fell, and was named after the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile, who, together with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, built the airship Norge and passed through the poles and successfully crossed the Arctic Ocean.

It is known that there is ice due to the existence of several permanent shaded areas that do not receive a single light within the crater, and there is also a small crater in the vicinity that is easier to access than Nobile.

The Viper is designed to travel 16 to 24 km over an area of ​​approximately 93 km2 over 100 days and to explore at least six sites. In three of these, drills are used to explore up to 1m underground, and the data obtained in this way will be used to create a resource distribution map for the entire moon.

The water ice that Viper will find is not only an essential resource that can be used as rocket fuel in future manned exploration, but also ice that has been kept away from sunlight for more than 4 billion years is believed to contain information about the origin and evolution of the solar system. It is expected.

“The Viper’s landing will provide ground-based measurements of the distribution of water and other resources around the lunar Antarctica and the Nobile Crater, which has been shown to be a scientifically promising area,” said Thomas Zubuken, deputy director of NASA’s scientific missions.

However, some scientists are concerned that the Viper may not be able to find enough ice around Nobile Crater as expected, according to Nature.com, an online news outlet in the scientific journal Nature.

Ice is scattered on the surface of the moon and buried deep underground, so it may not be possible to identify it with a Viper drill.

Accordingly, there was also a claim that the satellite ‘Lunar TrailBlazer’, which is scheduled to be launched in 2025, should be launched first to make a map of the distribution of water on the moon and conduct a preliminary survey and then use Viper. It is said that the conclusion has been reached that the mission can be successfully carried out.

International Team [email protected]

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