For the first time, NASA is attempting to extract water from the Moon. Resource mapping has never been performed on another world before. This tool could help find the Moon's water supply and allow scientists to sustain a long-term presence on the Moon.
The mobile robot called VIPER would be sent to the south part of the Moon to survey the area. It will then use resource mapping to point out which areas are most likely to contain ice.
"This has never been done before – testing the instruments on the Moon as the rover is being developed. VIPER will help us realize the Moon's vast scientific potential," said NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen.
VIPER is designed to provide the in-depth knowledge of the moon's water and other resources that will enable the first human crew since Apollo to travel to the Moon. The data will allow NASA to determine safe and optimal landing sites, and bring about a new era of extended lunar expeditions.