NASA will send a golf cart-sized robot to the moon in 2022 to search for deposits of water below the surface, an effort to evaluate the vital resource ahead of a planned human return to the moon in 2024 to possibly use it for astronauts to drink and to make rocket fuel, the U.S. space agency said on Friday, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The VIPER robot will drive for miles (km) on the dusty lunar surface to get a closer look at what NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has touted for months: underground pockets of “hundreds of millions of tons of water ice” that could help turn the moon into a jumping-off point to Mars.
“VIPER is going to assess where the water ice is. We’re going to be able to characterize the water ice, and ultimately drill,” Bridenstine said on Friday at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington. “Why is this important? Because water ice represents something significant. Life support.”