Oct 26, 2019

NASA mission aims to map water ice on moon's south pole for the first time

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine on Oct. 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

NASA announced Friday plans to send the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon in Dec. 2022 to study the concentration of water ice.

Why it matters: VIPER will gather data to inform NASA's first global water resource maps of the Moon. The mission's project manager, Daniel Andrews, said VIPER will help answer the question of "if the Moon could really contain the amount of resources we need to live off-world."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Miriam Kramer: NASA still doesn't know how much water is on the Moon or what form it takes. This mission represents a first step toward helping the space agency characterize that water and figure out exactly what they might need to do to extract it in the future.

Go deeper: All the Moon landings, from Luna to Apollo to Chang'e

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NASA's difficult road to the Moon

Photo: NASA

A new report paints a stark picture of NASA's progress toward accomplishing its Artemis mission to the Moon in 2024.

Why it matters: The report from NASA's inspector general — and others like it — reveals some of what lurks below the positive face the space agency puts forward announcing its accomplishments and hyping its future endeavors.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Mercury is having a moment

Color-enhanced view of Mercury. Photo: NASA/JHU-APL/Carnegie

Scientists are pushing space agencies around the world to send dedicated missions to the small, relatively unexplored planet Mercury.

Why it matters: With its odd, huge core, magnetic field and unexplained chemistry, the planet is like nowhere else in the solar system.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

Catching up with Michael Phelps 3 years after his last Olympic race

Photo: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

It's been a busy three years since Michael Phelps swam his last race at the Rio Olympics. He and his wife, Nicole, have welcomed three baby boys and he has his own swim brand, all while dedicating time to important issues like mental health and water conservation.

What he's saying: I caught up with Michael, the most decorated Olympian ever, over the phone. We talked about a range of topics like mental health and saving water.

Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019