NASA launching robotic explorer to moon from Va.

September 6, 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: NASA aims for moon again to probe thin atmosphere

Related Stories

NASA Goddard plays major role in NASA lunar mission

August 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 robotic ...

Space laser to prove increased broadband possible

August 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, Calif., it will ...

Recommended for you

Astronomers study a rare multi-eclipsing quintet of stars

March 23, 2017

(Phys.org)—A team of astronomers led by Krzysztof Hełminiak of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center in Toruń, Poland, has investigated an interesting bright quintuple stellar system in which each of the stars is ...

Tracing aromatic molecules in the early universe

March 22, 2017

A molecule found in car engine exhaust fumes that is thought to have contributed to the origin of life on Earth has made astronomers heavily underestimate the amount of stars that were forming in the early Universe, a University ...

Ice in Ceres' shadowed craters linked to tilt history

March 22, 2017

Dwarf planet Ceres may be hundreds of millions of miles from Jupiter, and even farther from Saturn, but the tremendous influence of gravity from these gas giants has an appreciable effect on Ceres' orientation. In a new study, ...

0 comments

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.