NASA asks people to send name suggestions for aboard Artemis Robotic Moon Rover
New Delhi : NASA has extended an invitation for individuals to submit their names for inclusion on the lunar surface aboard VIPER, the agency's inaugural robotic lunar rover. VIPER, short for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, is set to embark on a mission to the lunar South Pole to unravel the mysteries of the Moon's water and gain insights into the environment where NASA plans to land the first woman and person of color as part of its Artemis program.
As part of the "Send Your Name with VIPER" initiative, NASA will accept submissions until 11:59 p.m. EST on March 15. The agency will then collect and affix the submitted names to the rover. To participate, individuals can visit:
The website also provides participants with the opportunity to generate and download a virtual keepsake—a VIPER mission boarding pass featuring their name—to commemorate the experience. Participants are encouraged to share their submissions on social media using the hashtag #SendYourName.
Nicola Fox, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, expressed, "With VIPER, we are going to study and explore parts of the Moon’s surface no one has ever been to before – and with this campaign, we are inviting the world to be part of that risky yet rewarding journey."
The campaign follows a similar pattern to other NASA projects, allowing millions of people to send their names aboard various missions, including Artemis I, several Mars spacecraft, and the upcoming Europa Clipper mission. This tradition aligns with NASA's longstanding practice of incorporating inspirational messages on spacecraft exploring the solar system and beyond.
VIPER, described by Daniel Andrews, VIPER's project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center, as a "game-changer," represents a groundbreaking mission that expands our understanding of potential lunar resources for sustaining long-term human presence on the Moon.
Scheduled for late 2024, the Astrobotic Technologies' Griffin Mission One will deliver VIPER to the lunar surface via a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. During its approximately 100-day mission, VIPER will rely on solar panels and batteries to endure extreme temperatures and challenging lighting conditions. Equipped with a suite of scientific instruments, the rover will gather data on lunar ice characteristics and concentrations, as well as other potential resources.
NASA's VIPER delivery is part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative under the Artemis program. Through CLPS and human exploration near the lunar South Pole, NASA aims to establish a consistent schedule of Moon missions in preparation for future crewed missions to Mars.
VIPER is integral to the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program (LDEP), managed by the Science Mission Directorate at NASA’s headquarters and executed through the Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office. NASA Ames oversees mission management, science, systems engineering, real-time rover surface operations, and flight software, while the rover hardware is developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Instruments are provided by NASA Ames, Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and commercial partner Honeybee Robotics in Altadena, California.