LADEE's Science and Instruments
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. LADEE has three science instruments and one technology demonstration onboard.
Ultraviolet and Visible Light Spectrometer (UVS)
Will determine the composition of the lunar atmosphere by analyzing light signatures of materials it finds. The Principal Investigator is Anthony Colaprete, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS)
Will measure variations in the lunar atmosphere over multiple lunar orbits with the moon in different space environments. The Principal Investigator is Paul Mahaffy, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX)
Will collect and analyze samples of any lunar dust particles in the tenuous atmosphere. These measurements will help scientists address a longstanding mystery: was lunar dust, electrically charged by solar ultraviolet light, responsible for the presunrise horizon glow that the Apollo astronauts saw? The Principal Investigator is Mihaly Horanyi, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD)
Currently, communications with spacecraft beyond close Earth orbits require spacecraft to have small, low-mass, low-power radio transmitters and giant satellite dishes on Earth to receive their messages. However, the LADEE spacecraft will demonstrate the use of lasers instead of radio waves to achieve broadband speeds to communicate with Earth.
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Page Last Updated: August 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Jessica Culler