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NASA Lunar Explorer LADEE On Its Way to the Moon

by Kenny Hoeschen

NASA’s newest robotic explorer, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (“LADEE”) rocketed into space late Friday. It was the first deep space mission launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. LADEE did experience a bit of a hiccup following launch. The craft was spinning too fast after it separated from the final rocket stage, but NASA has assured the public that the probe is on track for the moon and the problems will be resolved in the next two to three weeks.

NASA’s launch video is shown above. LADEE, which will reach the moon after it makes three orbits around Earth, on October 6. The 844-pound spacecraft has is the size of a small car and will end its six-month mission with a suicide dive into the moon. Prior to that dive, LADEE will orbit the moon to collect information about its atmosphere and environmental influences on lunar dust. Data from LADEE will help scientists better understand other planetary bodies in our solar system.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Marion Haligowski.

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