LADEE is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns.
|Launch Date||September 6, 2013|
|Launch Site||Wallops Flight Facility|
|Launch Vehicle||Minotaur V|
|Duration of Mission||160 days- 30 days to reach the Moon, 30 days check out, 100 days science op|
Onboard, LADEE will include three science instruments and a technology demonstration. Instruments will include a dust detector, a neutral mass spectrometer, and an ultraviolet-visible spectrometer, as well as a technology demonstration, a laser communications (lasercom) terminal.
Ultraviolet and Visible Light Spectrometer: will determine the composition of the lunar atmosphere by analyzing light signatures of materials it finds UV-Vis Spectrometer (UVS), which will measure both the dust and atmosphere.
Neutral Mass Spectrometer: will measure variations in the lunar atmosphere over multiple lunar orbits with the moon in different space environments.
Lunar Dust Experiment: will collect and analyze samples of any lunar dust particles in the tenuous atmosphere. These measurements will help scientists address a mystery: was lunar dust, electrically charged by solar ultraviolet light, responsible for pre-sunrise horizon glow that Apollo astronauts saw?
Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration: will demonstrate the use of lasers instead of radio waves to achieve broadband speeds to communicate with Earth.
During intense solar flares, astronauts see bright flashing streaks of light as a result of high-energy particles zipping through their eyeballs.