[FPSPACE] FW: NASA Sets Sights on Lunar Dust Exploration Mission
ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Apr 9 15:55:59 EDT 2008
>From: NASA News <nasanews at mail.arc.nasa.gov>
>To: ames-releases at lists.arc.nasa.gov
>Subject: NASA Sets Sights on Lunar Dust Exploration Mission
>Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2008 12:40:45 -0700
>Deborah Robin Croft April 9, 2008
>Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
>dcroft at mail.arc.nasa.gov
>RELEASE: 08- 29AR
>NASA SETS SIGHTS ON LUNAR DUST EXPLORATION MISSION
>MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA is preparing to send a small spacecraft to
>the moon in 2011 to assess the lunar atmosphere and the nature of dust
>lofted above the surface.
>Called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), the
>mission will launch before the agency's moon exploration activities
>accelerate during the next decade. LADEE will gather detailed information
>about conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar
>dust. A thorough understanding of these influences will help researchers
>understand how future exploration may shape the lunar environment and how
>the environment may affect future explorers.
>"LADEE represents a low-cost approach to science missions, enabling faster
>science return and more frequent missions," said Ames Director S. Pete
>Worden. "These measurements will provide scientific insight into the lunar
>environment, and give our explorers a clearer understanding of what they'll
>be up against as they set up the first outpost and begin the process of
>settling the solar system."
>LADEE is a cooperative effort with NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett
>Field, Calif., Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Marshall
>Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The total cost of the spacecraft is
>expected to be approximately $80 million.
>Ames will manage the mission, build the spacecraft and perform mission
>operations. Goddard will perform environmental testing and launch vehicle
>integration. The mission will be established within Marshall's newly
>created Lunar Science Program Office. Marshall will draw upon experience
>gained from managing a larger suite of low-cost, small satellite missions
>through NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Program.
>LADEE will fly to the moon as a secondary payload on the Discovery mission
>called Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL), which is designed
>to take ultra-precise gravity field measurements of the moon. Current plans
>call for the GRAIL and LADEE spacecraft to launch together on a Delta II
>rocket and separate after they are on a lunar trajectory. LADEE will take
>approximately four months to travel to the moon, then undergo a month-long
>checkout phase and begin 100 days of science operations.
>LADEE is one of many activities to support lunar exploration planned by
>NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Last year, NASA also
>established a lunar science institute at Ames. Research teams will address
>current topics in basic lunar science and possible astronomical, solar and
>Earth science investigations that could be performed from the moon. In
>addition, NASA is preparing for scientific investigations following the
>planned launch later this year of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
>After a 30-year hiatus, LRO represents NASA's first step toward returning
>humans to the moon.
>For more information on NASA and agency programs, visit:
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