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.
The most powerful solar flare in the last 500 years occurred on September 2, 1859 and was sighted by two astronomers who happened to be looking at the sun at exactly the right time!