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: Italian astronaut brews, sips first fresh espresso in space

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

Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun

May 01, 2015

Over the course of April 28–29 a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the surface of the sun, broke off and created an enormous snakelike eruption of plasma that extended millions of miles out into ...

20 ExoWorlds are now available for naming proposals

May 01, 2015

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU has the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.