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NASA's LADEE spacecraft to impact Moon

RATE THIS! +26
Posted in Science on 5th Apr, 2014 11:37 PM by AlexMuller

Another lunar mission is drawing to a close, if not with a bang, then a thump. On Thursday, NASA held a press conference to discuss the final weeks of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission before the spacecraft makes a controlled impact on the far side of the Moon on or before April 21.

 
Since its launch last year, LADEE has been sending back data with the aim of providing scientists with a better understanding of the dust and tenuous atmosphere around the Moon, as well as a demonstration on the use of lasers for deep-space communications.
 
Now reaching the end of its extended science mission, ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, are preparing to move the spacecraft gradually into a very low lunar orbit only about 1 to 2 mi (2 to 3 km) above the lunar surface.
 
According to NASA, natural orbital decay will soon bring LADEE down. Unfortunately, the nature of the Moon’s gravity means that it isn't possible to target LADEE to hit on a specific spot. This is why the impact is planned for the far side, so the spacecraft won’t pose a threat of contaminating historic landing sites on the near side.

Tags: NASAspacemoonLADEE

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-06
+1
Very interesting way to complete a mission - I hope all will go according to the plan that NASA developed
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-06
+3
Yes, I hope so. However, there are some serious potential problems. The main threat that LADEE faces between now and impact is a lunar eclipse-This will throw the Moon into darkness for some hours and there is the danger that the spacecraft may lose power and freeze, making it inoperative. We have to wait and see how this step goes! Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-06
+3
It is a bit disappointing that NASA will not be able to see the impact directly. NASA will only know when it occurs when the spacecraft fails to reappear from behind the Moon. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-06
+3
The good news is that NASA is keeping and increasing its involvement in Moon exploration. The fact that NASA is also involving private companies to achieve this, is also great news Reply


 

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