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Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER)



The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) on Griffin Mission 1 is a lunar rover designed to search the regolith for water ice and other volatiles in the Moon's south polar region over a 100-day duration mission in late 2023. The primary objectives are to learn about the origin and distribution of water on the Moon, and to help determine how to harvest the Moon's resources for future human exploration. It will also be a technology demonstration mission for operations in extreme low temperatures, dynamic lighting conditions, and rugged terrain, as well as for power generation and storage technologies. VIPER is part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, in which NASA contracts with a commercial partner that provides the launch and lander.

VIPER is a large rover, 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 meters, roughly the size of a golf cart, with a mass of 430 kg. Power is provided by solar panels and a battery, with a peak power of 450 W. Communications are via X-band directly to the Deep Space Network. Top speed of the rover is 0.8 km peer hour. It will be driven from Earth in near-real-time. It will carry a 1-meter long drill and 3 spectrometers.

The rover is scheduled to be launched no earlier than November 2024. It will land on the Astrobotic Griffin lander near Nobile crater (roughly 85.4 S, 30.5 E) near the lunar south pole. Over its 100 Earth-day mission it is expected to cover some 20 km, including trips into permanently shadowed craters. It will use the drill and spectrometers to analyze various ice and regolith environments.

For more on NASA's CLPS program and missions, see:

Image credit: NASA Ames / Daniel Rutter

Alternate Names

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 2024-11-01
    Launch Vehicle: 
    Launch Site: , United States
    Mass: 430 kg
    Nominal Power: 450 W

    Funding Agency

    • Unknown (United States)


    • Planetary Science

    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



    NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
    Dr. Daniel R. AndrewsProgram ManagerNASA Ames Research
    Dr. Anthony ColapreteProject ScientistNASA Ames Research
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