NASA launching robotic explorer to moon from Va.

Sep 06, 2013 by Marcia Dunn
This image provided by NASA shows the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer aboard a Minotaur V rocket after a rollout at NASA's Wallops Island test flight facility in Wallops Island, Va., Thursday Sept. 5, 2013. The LADEE spacecraft is set to launch from Wallops Island Friday evening. NASCAR fans in Virginia will have an opportunity to learn about an upcoming NASA mission to the moon during races at Richmond International Raceway. NASA's Langley Research Center says education specialists will be at Richmond International Raceway on Friday and Saturday. (AP Photo/NASA, Patrick Black)

NASA is poised to return to the moon.

An is scheduled to blast off late Friday night from Virginia with a that will study the lunar atmosphere and dust. Called LADEE (LA'-dee), the moon-orbiting craft will measure the thin .

Scientists want to learn the composition of the moon's ever-so-delicate atmosphere and how it might change over time. Another puzzle: whether dust actually levitates from the lunar surface.

Unlike the quick three-day Apollo flights to the moon, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, will take a full month to get there. An Air Force Minotaur rocket, built by Orbital Sciences Corp., is providing the ride from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. It's the first moonshot from Virginia.

Launch time is 11:27 p.m. EDT.

Explore further: Image: Siding Spring grazes Mars

5 /5 (7 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Goddard plays major role in NASA lunar mission

Aug 22, 2013

(Phys.org) —In partnership with NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Calif., Goddard's Wallops Flight Facility will launch the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer known as LADEE in September, a roboti ...

Space laser to prove increased broadband possible

Aug 28, 2013

When NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) begins operation aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission managed by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, ...

Recommended for you

Historical comet-landing site is looking for a name

1 hour ago

The Rosetta mission reaches a defining moment on Wednesday November 12, when its lander, Philae, is released. After about seven hours of descent, Philae will arrive on the surface of Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ...

Image: Siding Spring grazes Mars

2 hours ago

This excellent view of Mars seen together with Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring was captured by Scott Ferguson, Florida, USA, on 19 October 2014 on the morning that the enigmatic object made the closest-known ...

China to send orbiter to moon and back

5 hours ago

China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said Wednesday, in its first attempt to send a spacecraft around the moon and back to Earth.

NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test

15 hours ago

After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) and its sensitive instruments, ...

User comments : 0