The VIPER lunar went through a critical review of the project and moved to the construction phase

The VIPER lunar went through a critical review of the project and moved to the construction phase

The NASA Independent Commission has officially approved the system design of the VIPER. This is a critical review of the project, the last phase separating the VIPER lunar from the production phase, which will begin in 2022.

The NASA VIPER moonship has undergone a critical design test.

Purpose of design critical analysis

At the end of this long series, CDR was received

Characteristics of the lunar VIPER

To date, we are looking at a circus that weighs about 450 kg and can travel at about 0.7 km per hour. The VIPER is 2.5 m by 1.5 m and uses a 450 W peak solar battery. This is the first NASA moonship of its kind, equipped with such functions and headlamps. Using camera and lighthouses, the VIPER lunar will bypass dangerous areas and cross shade craters while remaining in contact with the Earth via Deep Space Network.

Both the lunar and its components are capable of resisting a hostile lunar environment and conducting scientific experiments in the most appropriate way. To facilitate the movement, the lunar is able to lift each of its wheels independently of each other. This allows it to pull itself out of any location, even very soft. In addition, VIPER can move in any direction, so it can continue to recharge batteries and conduct scientific experiments without even changing settings.

Apparatus on board VIPER

In order to study the ice samples, the VIPER will use a shock drill and three other instruments. The storm is called TRIDENT, which is one metre long, and it will go deeper into the lunar ground at a depth of about 90 cm. This is a perforator because it rotates to dig the ground and hits with a hammer to break a more solid material. This makes drilling more efficient and reduces energy consumption. It also removes the regolith from the drilling rig and drops it down the vent to form a neat pile on the ground.

Only then will other VIPER instruments begin to analyse samples. The three instruments are spectrometers: NSS, NIRVSS and MSolo.

  • The neutron spectrometer system will be designed to "detect" the presence of hydrogen in an attempt to prove the presence of water under the lunar soil. A volatile spectrometer system in a nearby infrared area will be able to determine the nature and origin of the hydrogen previously reported by NSS. Finally, a mass spectrometer observing the lunar operation will analyse the gases around the landing site on the Moon.

Under the Artemis programme, the VIPER mission is managed by the NASA Ames Research Centre in Silicon Valley.

This is why the CDR acquired in the last few days is so important. As a result, the construction phase of the VIPER lunar will begin in 2022 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. In parallel, the Ames will develop a flight software and navigation system. In mid-2023, Astrobotic will receive a full set of lunars and tools and then prepare for launch by the end of the year. While much remains to be done, we are one step closer to the moon.