Watch a NASA moon rover complete a lunar obstacle course (video) - Space.com

Watch a NASA moon rover complete a lunar obstacle course (video) - Space.com

Watch a NASA moon rover complete a lunar obstacle course (video) - Space.com
Aug 15, 2022 1 min, 31 secs

One of those robots is NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), currently scheduled to land on the moon in late 2024.

For this test, which was completed at the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Laboratory at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, a VIPER prototype endured a moon-like obstacle course with a detailed simulation of the terrain found around the south pole, including boulders, inclines and quicksand-like soil.

"We wanted to see if the rover is capable of moving forward in an extreme sinkage environment, and how much slower VIPER might drive or how much additional power the rover would use because of tricky soil conditions," Mercedes Herreras-Martinez VIPER risk manager and mission systems engineering technical interchange lead at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, said in a statement.

"Using data and imagery from previous lunar missions, we created various randomized scenes to mimic the surface terrain of the moon, with craters and rocks of different sizes and shapes scattered over the SLOPE tilt bed," Kevin May, rover and mission systems engineering intern at Ames who led the terrain preparation for the test, said in the statement!

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Because the Earth has much stronger gravity than the moon, the team stripped away some of the heavy components of the rover to create a test vehicle with a mass-to-gravity ratio that's proportional to what the real rover will experience on the moon!

"We've captured a lot of data with these tests about what happens when the rover wheels grind over a rock or slip on loose terrain, and any sensor drifts — when the rover gets slightly off-course," Arno Rogg, test director and rover systems engineer at Ames, said in the same statement.

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