The Artemis program sees the involvement of ASI, ESA, SpaceX and some private individuals: what's the purpose? ASI, ESA and SpaceX and NASA, together to find water on the Moon.
This could be news within news, because not everyone, in fact, is aware that, yes, we really are going to look for water on the Moon. Equally surprising might turn out to be the reason: why are we investing time and resources in the hope of finding, on our satellite, something we are amply supplied with on Earth?
So here's everything you need to know about Viper, that's the name of the mission, and the latest developments in a search that is sure to be exciting.
What is the mission to search for water on the Moon and what is Viper
Acronym for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, Viper is the mission that will be launched in 2023 in search of the presence of water on the Moon. The mission is part of the Artemis program, which sees the involvement of the European ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian ASI (Italian Space Agency).
The presence of water on the Moon has already been identified by some satellite probes, but with Viper scientists intend to obtain a definitive proof and, to this end, in addition to the various national and intercontinental agencies, have also opened to the involvement of companies, in particular SpaceX, Elon Musk's space giant. SpaceX will build a Falcon 9 Heavy rocket to transport to the surface a lander made this time by the American company Astrobotic. The rover will instead be developed by NASA.
The ideal landing site identified by scientists is the Noble crater near the lunar south pole. This is an area almost perpetually in the shade, which could then have retained traces of water.
Once landed, Viper, powered by solar energy thanks to some photovoltaic panels, will make several holes in the ground, up to one meter deep. The samples extracted will then be analyzed by on-board instruments in order to reach an analysis of the subsurface and check for the possible presence of H2O. The duration of the mission, due to the limited availability of energy, will be only 100 days.
What is the purpose of Artemis, why are we looking for water on the Moon
The most fascinating part of the new moon landing program concerns the long-term objectives: Artemis was born with the purpose of bringing man back to the Moon and make him stay there thanks to stable bases, real colonies, or outposts, necessary for the permanence of living beings on the satellite. It is clear at this point that the water represents a key element in a future perspective of survival.
The Moon is also at the center of other projects, certainly visionary but apparently less concrete and feasible than Artemis. In particular, there are those who want to build a lunar elevator. In the space race also involved China, that intends to drill the Moon in order to "feed" the Earth.