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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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LADEE Heads for the Moon
6 September 2013 4:30 pm
A lot is riding on a lunar science mission that NASA plans to launch tonight from Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia shore. And it isn’t just lunar science.
The primary goal of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE (pronounced laddie) is to learn more about the moon’s thin atmosphere, which remains a mystery 4 decades after humans first landed on the moon. But the launch will also test new concepts and technologies that could help future space missions.
“It’s got a lot of firsts to it,” says Richard Elphic, project scientist for LADEE at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
For one, LADEE will be the first mission to be blasted into space atop a Minotaur V rocket, a newly designed launch vehicle that incorporates a Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile from the U.S. Air Force. Another precedent is the craft's architecture: LADEE was built by assembling a series of modules whose designs can be reused in future missions. In addition, the mission will provide NASA the first opportunity to test a new laser-based system for communicating with satellites. This system could significantly increase the speed and volume of data downloads from observational spacecraft.
The launch, scheduled for 11:27 p.m. on Friday, will be visible from as far afield as Washington, D.C. And viewers up and down the eastern shore, from Connecticut down to North Carolina, should be able to see the rocket speeding through the sky, if the skies are clear.