LADEE to the Moon!

LADEE to the Moon!

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:10 pm

LADEE lifted off on time Friday night at 2227 Houston time. The launch went well, although shortly after spacecraft separation there was a slight issue with the reaction wheels used to position itself. Yesterday NASA confirmed that the reaction wheels of its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) were successfully brought back on-line and the spacecraft has acquired its safe-mode attitude profile.

LADEE will spend a few days in Earth orbit. Once it arrives at the Moon it will spend several days perfecting its orbit around the Moon. Once at the proper orbit the spacecraft will enter a Commissioning phase which should last about 40 days. After that the 100 day science phase will start. Decommissioning will last around 3-7 days in which the orbits will be allowed to decay until LADEE impacts the surface of the Moon. The Press Kit has more details on the mission: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files ... 292013.pdf

During the 100 day science phase LADEE will study the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. There is one mystery that LADEE hopes to solve that caught my attention. In 1968 the Surveyor 7 lander took a photo of the lunar horizon at sunset. A strange glow could be seen. During the Apollo 17 mission, Eugene Cernan made sketches of a similar kind of phenomena.

Here is the Sky&Telescope article: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/hom ... 10571.html

Here is a NASA Science article from 2005 talking about strange glow along the lunar horizon with many more links about other sightings: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sc ... oonstorms/
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