“Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a-Jupiter and Mars” ~Frank Sinatra
Earlier this month, the scientific community at NASA recently launched a Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer enroute to the moon to learn more about the lunar atmosphere. A craft about seven feet in height and eight hundred forty-four pounds took flight from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on September 7th at 11:27pm EST. LADEE’s mission on the moon is to study “clouds” that hover upon the surface; a phenomenon that was first discovered by NASA’s Surveyor 7 in 1968 and noticed in many places around our solar system such as on Mercury, asteroids, and other large moons.
As of writing this on September 28th, LADEE is in orbit over our atmosphere as NASA collaborates it for its work, and should be continuing for the moon very soon. LADEE is being operated from the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. LADEE’s voyage to the moon should take about five and a quarter days. LADEE will orbit the moon 150 miles above the surface, then work from 12 miles off the surface for 100 days. The craft will measure the exosphere with a neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS), an ultraviolet spectrometer (UVS), a Lunar Dust EXperiment (LDEX), along with an optical communications system called the Lunar Laser Comm Demo (LLCD) which can send and receive data as pulses of light.
I don’t think I could say anything about Jupiter or Mars having a springtime season, but then again this playing among the stars could prove me wrong. The peculiar shrouds around the moon and other bodies in the solar system have been mysteries spanning decades now, and with LADEE’s efforts, the unexplained will soon give way to a better understanding of our universe. Learn more and stay updated with NASA and LADEE through this webpage and through social media.