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The NASA VIPER prototype face obstacles reminiscent of those found on the moon


NASA's VIPER rover prototype recently endured the most realistic tests to date at the SLOPE Laboratory at Glenn Research Center.
NASA's VIPER rover

NASA's VIPER prototype rover faced quicksand-like soil in the sink tank, climbed the tilt bed, and conquered boulders and craters.

Engineers tested the latest VIPER mobility engineering test unit, known as Moon Gravitation Representative Unit 3 (MGRU3), in the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Laboratory at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The tests helped determine how well the rover will handle challenging conditions on the lunar surface.

Engineers tested out the latest build of the rover software on the moon, and demonstrated how it can inch-worm its way unstuck and stop autonomously if it gets stuck or loses its way.

The VIPER science team created realistic Moon-like environments for the rover prototype to drive over, and the engineering test team 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.

NASA's VIPER prototype realistic tests of its ability

NASA's VIPER prototype drove through quicksand-like soil, climbed a tilt bed, and conquered boulders and craters.

Engineers tested the newest version of the Rover Mobility System (RMS), the vehicle’s primary drivetrain. They used the SLOPE Test Facility to simulate several different types of terrain, including slopes, craters, mountains, and boulders. These tests allow engineers to ensure that the rover has enough power to climb steep inclines, navigate through deep valleys, and traverse rough terrains.

VIPER's engineering test team carefully selected 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.
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