Watch a NASA moon rover complete a lunar obstacle course (video)

When it comes to space rovers, it’s been all about Mars for NASA — save for the Apollo-era Lunar Roving Vehicle. But that’s about to change with the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The initiative will see quite a few machines, including rovers, delivered to the moon over the next few years.

One of those robots is NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), currently scheduled to land on the moon in late 2024. VIPER will search the moon’s south pole for ice and other resources that may aid future human exploration. In order to prepare the rover for its tasks, engineers are testing prototypes of VIPER‘s components, most recently, its mobility engineering test unit, or Moon Gravitation Representative Unit 3 (MGRU3). For this test, which was completed at the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Laboratory at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, a VIPER prototype endured a moon-like obstacle course with a detailed simulation of the terrain found around the south pole, including boulders, inclines and quicksand-like soil.



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