NASA picks Astrobotic to land ice-hunting VIPER rover at the moon’s south pole

A Pennsylvania-based space company called Astrobotic has taken on a dramatic new task for NASA: deliver a VIPER to the moon.

Not a snake, of course. Astrobotic’s payload will be a large rover designed to sniff out water ice buried below the lunar surface, dubbed the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER. The launch, which is currently scheduled for late 2023, is a keystone piece of NASA’s Artemis program to land humans at the moon’s south pole in late 2024.

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