NASA is reportedly set to delay its moon rover mission to 2024 in order to reduce risk. The agency will focus on more funding for more lunar lander testing.
NASA Set To Delay Its Moon Rover Mission To 2024
The space agency, NASA currently is focused on taking both humans and machines back to the moon, but it is quite a long way from the earth to the moon, and also getting there is not an easy task. NASA on Monday said that it’s much anticipated Volatiles investigating polar exploration rover, or viper, rover mission will now be delayed by a year from November 2023 to November 2024.
Viper is a sturdy-looking wheeled vehicle that is designed and crafted to look for ice on the south pole of the moon. “The measurements returned by Viper will provide insight into the origin and distribution of water on the moon and help determine how the moon’s resources could be harvested for future human space exploration,” NASA said.
NASA Collaborated With Astrobotic in Delivering Viper
NASA collaborated with space company Astrobotic in delivering Viper to the moon via the agency’s commercial lunar payload services or better known as CLPS, initiative. And as NASA has put it, the delay is to ‘reduce risk’ and also give the Astrobotic company more time to complete more testing of the Griffin Lunar lander that is set to carry the rover to the surface of the moon. The space agency is putting an additional $67.8 million into the Astrobotics CLPS contract in order to cover testing and therefore bring the total value up to $320.4 million.
The Importance of Water to the Mission
Water as already known is dense and quite expensive to convey across space. And finding usable water resources on the moon is a very important part of the space agency’s vision to have a sustainable human presence there. And this is where viper would come into the picture as it will help to map the frigid South Pole and then locate ice deposits.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket to Convey Griffin and Viper to the Moon
By the time Griffin and Viper would eventually launch, it will be on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket. Delays normally are very common for space missions and most especially in cases when you are dealing with new equipment’s such as the lander. NASA’s Artemis 1 mission which is a precursor to sending humans back to the moon has also seen its own share of delays and in the process cost overruns.