NASA wants to's mysterious South Pole, and it's sending a new rover to do it. The VIPER will land in 2022 in search of water on the lunar surface.
The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover — or VIPER — will take samples of moon soil, looking for evidence of water-ice, NASA announced Friday. Starting in December 2022, the mobile robot will spend 100 days collecting data and sampling the water that is crucially needed for .
NASA said the rover is about the size of a golf cart, equipped with four scientific instruments to sample a range of soil environments. Researchers plan to use the data collected to create the first water resource maps of the moon.
"The key to living on the moon is water – the same as here on Earth," said Daniel Andrews, the project manager of the VIPER mission. "Since the confirmation of lunar water-ice ten years ago, the question now is if the moon could really contain the amount of resources we need to live off-world. This rover will help us answer the many questions we have about where the water is, and how much there is for us to use."