NASA invites media to view the first full-scale replica of its water-hunting Moon rover during a ceremony at 9 a.m. PDT on Saturday, May 28 at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California. The debut of the agency’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is part of the NASA Artemis Preview Weekend hosted by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29.


VIPER will scout the lunar South Pole to search for ice and other potential resources to help enable long-term human exploration of the Moon and other parts of deep space. The lunar rover is part of NASA’s Artemis missions, which will return astronauts to the Moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface. 


“It’s one thing to see a picture of NASA’s VIPER, and it’s another to have an exact, life-size replica right in front of you,” said Joel Hernandez, supervisor and engineering technician for the Advanced Metals and Composites Development Branch at Ames, where the rover model was built. “The making of this first VIPER model took our creative and meticulous team of 12 more than 1,300 hours to design and fabricate. We’re already working on two more models.” 


The VIPER ceremony will include remarks from NASA Ames Center Director Eugene Tu, VIPER lead missions system engineer Ryan Vaughan, and the director of NASA’s California Office of STEM Engagement Joeletta Patrick. Media will have an opportunity to interview subject matter experts following remarks. 


The NASA Artemis Preview Weekend at Chabot will feature exhibits, hands-on activities, and Ames employees that have contributed to the Artemis lunar missions.


Media interested in participating must RSVP by 10 a.m. Friday, May 27 to 


The VIPER mission is managed by Ames and is scheduled to be delivered to the Moon in late 2023 by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. Construction of the rover will begin in late 2022 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, while the rover flight software and navigation system design will take place at Ames. Astrobotic will receive the complete rover with its scientific instruments in mid-2023 in preparation for launch later that year. 


Learn more about VIPER at: