The new NASA moon rover copied the design of a Chinese Mars robot, as claimed by experts who are familiar with the two projects.
(Photo : Screenshot from Twitter post of @NASA_Johnson)
New NASA Moon Rover Copies Chinese Mars Bot, Experts Claim; How Similar is VIPER and Zhurong?
Special delivery! 🚚 Here at NASA Johnson, we recently welcomed a mockup analog of the Griffin lander. It will bring @NASA‘s water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the surface of the Moon.
Read more: https://t.co/TWFRQhmk5I pic.twitter.com/ngKko5Pzeo
— NASA’s Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) March 16, 2021
This is quite different from the usual scenario since China is commonly the one being accused of copying technologies from the U.S. and other countries.
For example, the Chinese government has many fighter jets with designs and features of some U.S. military aircraft, such as MiG-21, Boeing C-17, and other models.
Now, it is quite different with the new NASA VIPER, a lunar rover that allegedly copied China’s Zhurong robot.
New NASA Moon Rover Copies Chinese Lunar Bot?
According to the South China Morning Post’s latest report, Zhurong is a Mars rover named after the Chinese God of fire.
(Photo : Photo by MATTHIEU RONDEL/AFP via Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 23, 2022 shows a replica of Zhurong rover during a presentation to the press ahead of an exhibition titled “Martian Ground” which will offer visitors to discover the universe of the planet Mars at the Cite de l’Espace in Toulouse, southern France. (Photo by Matthieu RONDEL / AFP)
Also Read: NASA’s InSight Mars Lander Pushes Through Dust Storm and Continues Operation
This robot has been roaming on the Red Planet for more than a year now. China was able to land Zhurong on Mars last July 2021.
While Zhurong is exploring the soil of Mars, NASA is planning to send its VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) to Earth’s natural satellite.
Although their targeted heavenly bodies are different, VIPER and Zhurong both have similarities, leading experts to speculate that NASA copied China’s tech.
“This is a copy of the Chinese design,” said a Chinese space expert who is closely monitoring the Zhurong and VIPER projects.
He claimed that although VIPER is a four-wheeled rover (Zhurong is a six-wheeled Mars robot), it still has a suspension similar to the Chinese Mars rover.
Other researchers familiar with the works of China and NASA found that Zhurong’s design, which was allegedly copied by VIPER, has not appeared on previous space missions.
NASA VIPER’s Details
NASA Gov’s official report provided the details of its ongoing VIPER project.
The international space agency said that they will use SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy to launch its moon rover as early as 2023.
But the exact schedule hasn’t been confirmed yet. Once VIPER lands on Earth’s natural satellite, it will explore the heavenly body’s South Pole.
If you want to learn more about the upcoming NASA VIPER, you click here.
Previously, NASA’s DART mission was able to hit its targeted asteroid.
We also reported that NASA’s Perseverance rover unearthed organic matter on the ancient river Delta.
For more news updates about Mars and moon rovers, keep your tabs open here at TechTimes.
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Written by: Griffin Davis
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