Auburn joins NASA's Artemis rover mission to explore volatiles near the lunar South Pole

Published: February 01, 2022

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How much water is on the moon and where is it distributed? Masatoshi Hirabayashi will soon have answers.

Hirabayashi, assistant professor in aerospace engineering, is one of newly selected eight co-investigators involved in NASA’s 100-day Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, mission. As part of NASA’s Artemis lunar human exploration program, a historic mission that will send the first person of color and first woman to the Moon, VIPER will explore volatiles and soils in highland regions west of Nobile Crater near the lunar south pole and create the first resource map of this region. This roughly 1,000-pound, robotic four-wheeled rover will be 8 feet tall and 5 feet across, and delivered to the Moon by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander via NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program in late 2023.

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Submitted by: Joe McAdory