NASA’s next rover explores one of the coldest places in the solar system

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NASA has decided on the landing site for the next lunar rover. The VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) will land near the western edge of Nobile Crater at the Moon’s South Pole. The crater is characterized by a diameter of about 80 km and a maximum depth of more than 3.7 km.

NASA’s next rover explores one of the coldest places in the solar system

The peculiarity of the crater is that it is one of the coldest regions of the solar system. Temperatures in some areas can reach -223 degrees. Due to the location and depth of the crater, most of it is never illuminated by the sun. Among other things, this allows scientists to count on the presence of water ice in the crater.

The VIPER mission is designed for 100 days, during which the lunar rover explores not only the inner part of the crater, but also the surrounding areas. Scientists have identified six areas of scientific interest. During operation, the rover is expected to be able to travel from 16 to 24 km.

The rover is slated to launch in 2023.

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