One of the most anticipated missions that will be conducted by the American space agency has been delayed from December 2022 to 2023. It is a part of the ambitious Artemis initiative, which aims to send astronauts on the surface of the moon in the next five years.
The Volatile Investigating Polar Exploration Rover was designed to explore the lunar surface in an attempt to track down water ice. Previous experiments have shown that water ice has the potential to be quite useful since they can be converted into rocket fuel and drinkable water.
After the rover reaches the moon, it will travel to collect data, which can be stored for up to 100 days. The decision to delay the launch was based on the need to add several improvements that will increase the capabilities of the spacecraft and allow it to perform a larger variety of tasks.
NASA will delay the VIPER mission to 2023
In other news, the InSight lander has found a strange phenomenon in the form of an elusive glow that can be observed in the night sky. The primary instruments mounted on the lander are focused on what happens inside the Red Planet. Still, it also carries a small weather station that can collect interesting data in the nearby areas and powerful cameras that offer valuable visual feedback.
A selection of images has been captured with the help of the camera array, and they are quite impressive, according to one of the researchers who analyzed the photos. The Artemis initiate comes with several projects that are currently being developed by NASA, besides the construction of VIPER. A potential spaceport could improve the chances of future missions that target distant targets, among which we can count Mars and other planets.
This would be quite handy since it may allow some spacecraft to be fully fueled in space, reducing the mass during launch. More data may be shared in the future.