A New Mission Launches to the Moon
08 September 2013

 An artist concept showing the LADEE spacecraft gliding in Moon orbit
Credit: NASA Ames/Dana Berry

On 6 September 2013, the US space agency, NASA, launched a new spacecraft to the Moon. The mission, known as the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), will orbit the Moon, to study the thin gases and cosmic dust around it. LADEE will help improve the understanding of the Moon and other planetary bodies. The launch was from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, located in the US State of Virginia, aboard the Minotaur V rocket.

Unlike the manned Apollo missions, which lasted only three days to reach the Moon, LADEE will take a month, to arrive at the Moon. The car-sized, solar-powered, 383-kg probe will orbit Earth three times, then cruise to the Moon. After reaching the Moon, LADEE will be placed into a low-altitude lunar orbit, to perform its study. After accomplishing its six-month mission, the US$280 million probe will be forced to crash on the lunar surface. 


Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem
Senior Astronomy Specialist

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