NASA announced on Monday (12) that it should launch its next VIPER lunar rover (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) in 2023. The novelty, in fact, is that the robot will use open source software, that is, it will be available for use, modification and distribution by anyone with internet.
If the mission is successful, this is expected to be a turning point in space exploration, as it can bring less expensive and more accessible technologies to the industry.
“We decided to divide the robot’s brain between the moon and the Earth, thus opening the possibility of controlling the rover from conventional computers, without relying on customized software”, says Terry Fong, director of NASA’s Robotic Intelligence Group According to him, another advantage of using open source is that developers from anywhere in the world will be able to find flaws and communicate possible solutions, Fong points out, however, that the software will not be 100% open source, for security reasons.
In addition, the rover will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies, including wheels that can rotate correctly on the lunar soil, a drill that can dig extraterrestrial geology and hardware that can survive 14 days on a lunar night, when temperatures drop to -173 ° C . The robot must travel the surface of the moon in search of ice, an element that could, in the future, be used to make rocket fuel.