VIPER is a lunar rover by NASA that will be tasked with prospecting for lunar resources, especially water ice, in permanently shadowed areas in the lunar south pole region.
It is meant to support the ongoing crewed spaceflight program called Artemis.
It is planned to rove several kilometers in environments in complete darkness, as well as in occasional light and in constant sunlight.
Its total operation time will be approximately 100 Earth days.
Why such a short time for this important mission, while that for Curiosity for instance, was 2 years ?
The image above shows the south polar region with the craters Haworth and Shoemaker, each with a diameter of about 51 km, having the same dark adjacent area.
According to the article "Cold traps" and PSR near South Pole of the Moon these craters and the adjacent dark area are permanent shadowed regions so there's an enormous area for VIPER that can be prospected !
If solar energy is the problem because of keeping the batteries warm enough, an RTG could be used instead.
Why not spend $10 million more for instance, to extend it to one year ?