In an unprecedented move, NASA, the US space agency, is extending an extraordinary invitation to people worldwide: the chance to etch their names on the lunar surface aboard NASA’s first robotic lunar rover, VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover). Set to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in late 2024, VIPER’s mission is to investigate water ice and potential resources in the moon’s south pole region—a vital site earmarked for NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to establish a crewed base.
Through the “Send Your Name with VIPER” initiative, NASA is welcoming submissions of names to be etched onto the rover before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. EST, March 15. Participants can contribute their names through NASA’s dedicated website, which not only accepts submissions but also offers a virtual boarding pass, serving as a cherished keepsake of involvement in this historic lunar mission.
Nicola Fox, Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, emphasized the significance of VIPER’s lunar exploration. “With VIPER, we are going to study and explore parts of the Moon’s surface no one has ever been to before—and with this campaign, we are inviting the world to be part of that risky yet rewarding journey.”
Fox highlighted the thrill of having names journey alongside VIPER as it navigates the lunar terrain, gathering pivotal data crucial for understanding the Moon’s history and supporting future Artemis astronaut missions.
NASA’s “Send Your Name with VIPER” initiative isn’t merely about inclusion; it’s an opportunity to actively engage in history-making. The program allows participants not only to contribute their names but also to create and download a virtual boarding pass, symbolizing their involvement in this monumental mission.
VIPER, scheduled for delivery to the lunar surface in late 2024 under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, is expected to embark on a 100-day mission. This groundbreaking rover will play a pivotal role in expanding our understanding of lunar resources, potentially pivotal for sustaining human presence on the Moon.
Daniel Andrews, VIPER’s project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center, hailed the rover’s significance, stating, “Our VIPER is a game-changer. 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.”
The “Send Your Name with VIPER” initiative offers a unique opportunity for global participation in an unparalleled space exploration endeavor, marking a pivotal step in human engagement with lunar exploration.
Sources By Agencies