NASA's VIPER Vehicle Completes Tests Before Heading To Moon's South Pole

NASA's VIPER Vehicle Completes Tests Before Heading To Moon's South Pole. NASA’s new VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) vehicle has undergone its hardest tests to date in its preparation to visit the Moon’s South Pole. Engineers tested the latest VIPER in the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Laboratory at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Arno Rogg, test director and rover systems engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center says the VIPER doesn’t operate like a normal car. “Unlike most car engines, which uses a throttle and brake to speed up and slow down all four wheels…”, Rover Systems Engineer NASA’s AMES Research CenteR, VIPER’s motor controllers make the rover wheels turn at the force and rate the drivers want, with extreme precision to allow for better performance,” Rover Systems Engineer NASA’s AMES Research Center. The tests also helped engineers determine how well the rover will handle challenging conditions on the lunar surface. Using data from previous Moon missions, the engineering test team then carefully selected the soil simulants, hand-picked rocks and even carefully crafted the shape and size of the craters to realistically mimic actual features at the surface of the Moon’s South Pole. By recreating realistic Moon-like environments, we can get a much better idea of how VIPER will perform on the surface,” Rogg’s colleague Kevin May concludes.

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