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- Ultraviolet and Visible Light Spectrometer: will determine the composition of the lunar atmosphere by analyzing light signatures of materials it finds.
- 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.
NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (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, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well.
The LADEE spacecraft's modular common spacecraft bus, or body, is an innovative way of transitioning away from custom designs and toward multi-use designs and assembly-line production, which could drastically reduce the cost of spacecraft development, just as the Ford Model T did for automobiles.
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