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Updated January 6th, 2024 at 22:00 IST

NASA's rover could carry your name to the Moon later in 2024. Here's how

NASA is preparing to deliver its VIPER rover to the south pole of the Moon in late 2024 and it is inviting people to link themselves to the mission.

Harsh Vardhan
VIPER
Artist's concept of the VIPER rover on the lunar surface. | Image:NASA
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NASA is offering you an opportunity to send your name to the Moon later this year. The agency is preparing to deliver its VIPER rover to the south pole of the Moon and it is inviting people to link themselves to the mission before 11:59 p.m. EST March 15 (10:29 am IST, March 16).  

All you have to do is follow free and simple steps after visiting the link here. Feed in your first and last name along with your pin code and you can generate a digital souvenir - a 'Boarding Pass' for the mission. You can also download this pass once it is generated. NASA says that it will feed the names it will receive presumably on a chip and attach it to the rover.

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Short for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, the VIPER rover will be launched on SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket from Florida in late 2024 and delivered to the lunar surface in Astrobotic's Griffin lander. When the touchdown is successful, the rover will rollout to explore the Southern pole of the Moon for 100 days.

NASA says that VIPER will travel several kilometers to explore crater rims and the permanently shadowed craters, which are one of the coldest places in our solar system. During the course of its mission, VIPER will gather data about the characteristics of lunar ice and other potential resources while mapping their concentration.

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Calling VIPER a "game-changer," Daniel Andrews, VIPER’s project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center said, “It’s the first mission of its kind, expanding our understanding of where lunar resources could be harvested to support a long-term human presence on the Moon.”

Every bit of success in these lunar missions will help NASA build the Artemis Program which is its quest to establish a sustainable base on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. 

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Published January 6th, 2024 at 22:00 IST

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