ST. JOSEPH (WJON News) -- Later this year NASA will be sending a rover named Viper to the moon and when it lands it will have the names of the students from Kennedy Community School in St. Joseph on board.

Science teacher Alissa Keil used to work at the NASA Johnson Space Center where she was in charge of hiring college and high school students. One of her former hires, Parker Francis, is working on the current rover mission.

Keil says the rover will be looking for evidence of water at the lunar South Pole region.

The rover is going to collect different kinds of soil and make a map of the area.  It'll be the first one ever that's mapping another celestial body - our moon - and it's going to help us understand frozen water, it it's there, how we can use it, and how we can preserve it and use it to launch from the moon and beyond.

Right now NASA is collecting names to fly aboard Viper with a boarding pass for its 100-day mission.

So when we do our timeline of events for our earth, moon and sun and talk about exploring other planets and whey we explore, we'll be able to put the NASA Viper on the timeline and say their names are on it, sitting on the moon on the rover as it drives.

Keil says with the popularity of the Vex Robotics programs right now, the moon rover gives students insight into real-world examples of how robotics are being used.

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Keil says the Kennedy robotics team is helping the students in the younger grades sign up. The names go on a microchip so they can accept an unlimited number of names to go to the moon.


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