Moon

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

In this image, a man in a suit holds and speaks into a microphone with the American flag behind him.
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."

Saturn beats out Jupiter as king of the moons

Saturn as seen by Cassini in 2017.
Saturn as seen by Cassini in 2017. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SScI

Scientists have found 20 never-before-seen moons orbiting Saturn, making it the planet with the most known moons in our solar system.

Why it matters: The newfound natural satellites increase Saturn's moon count to 82, eclipsing Jupiter's 79 known moons.