Lunar and Planetary Institute






Explore Community Corner
Community Corner  

Goodbye, LADEE! Thanks for All the Science

Date: 04/18/2014
Category: Mission News & Science
By: Andy Shaner

Last night, NASA completed the LADEE mission with a planned impact on the Moon's surface.

Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m. PDT Thursday, April 17.

LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent into the lunar surface. The spacecraft's orbit naturally decayed following the mission's final low-altitude science phase.

During impact, engineers believe the LADEE spacecraft, the size of a vending machine, broke apart, with most of the spacecraft’s material heating up several hundred degrees – or even vaporizing – at the surface. Any material that remained is likely buried in shallow craters.

"At the time of impact, LADEE was traveling at a speed of 3,600 miles per hour – about three times the speed of a high-powered rifle bullet," said Rick Elphic, LADEE project scientist at Ames. "There’s nothing gentle about impact at these speeds – it’s just a question of whether LADEE made a localized craterlet on a hillside or scattered debris across a flat area. It will be interesting to see what kind of feature LADEE has created."

In early April, the spacecraft was commanded to carry out maneuvers that would lower its closest approach to the lunar surface. The new orbit brought LADEE to altitudes below one mile (two kilometers) above the lunar surface. This is lower than most commercial airliners fly above Earth, enabling scientists to gather unprecedented science measurements.

Click here to read more.

comments powered by Disqus
 

More Community Corner

2014 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Sixth Lowest on Record (09/22/2014)

MAVEN Ready to Arrive at Mars (09/19/2014)

Science Programming at Claud H. Gilmer Memorial Library (09/12/2014)

Our Dirty Moon (09/04/2014)

New Horizons Spacecraft Crosses Neptune Orbit En Route to Pluto (08/26/2014)

2014 International Observe the Moon Night (08/15/2014)

NASA's Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record (07/30/2014)

2014 Humans in Space Art Video Challenge (07/30/2014)

Nominations Invited for I Love My Librarian Award (07/30/2014)

Cassini Spacecraft Reveals 101 Geysers (07/30/2014)

NASA Prepares Mars Spacecraft for Close Comet Flyby (07/30/2014)

Ocean on Saturn Moon Could be as Salty as the Dead Sea (07/03/2014)

NASA Invites Public to Select Favorite Moon Image for Lunar Orbiter Anniversary Collection (05/23/2014)

NASA Releases Earth Day "Global Selfie" Mosaic of Our Home Planet (05/22/2014)

NASA Mars Weather Camera Helps Find New Crater on Red Planet (05/22/2014)

NASA Teams with Slooh to Help Protect Earth (05/22/2014)

Construction to Begin on 2016 NASA Mars Lander (05/20/2014)

The Incredible Shrinking Giant Red Spot! (05/15/2014)

How Does Your Garden Glow? (05/05/2014)

Cassini Spies the Ice-Giant Planet Uranus (05/01/2014)

Ganymede May Harbor 'Club Sandwich' of Oceans and Ice (05/01/2014)

NASA Spinoffs: Space in our Daily Lives (04/28/2014)

NASA Celebrates Earth Day (04/18/2014)

Goodbye, LADEE! Thanks for All the Science (04/18/2014)

Make-and-take Project Allows Kids to Spot Stars with Earth-like Planets! (04/17/2014)

It's National Library Week! (04/15/2014)

Birth of a New Saturn Moon? (04/15/2014)

Lunar Eclipes from a Different Perspective (04/11/2014)

April 15 Lunar Eclipse Resources (04/11/2014)

Live Streaming of April 14-15 Lunar Eclipse (04/11/2014)

Construction to Begin on OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft (04/10/2014)

Summer Reading Programs (04/10/2014)

Earth's Sunrises/sunsets Will Produce Red Moon During Lunar Eclipse (04/03/2014)

NASA Space Assets Detect Ocean Inside Saturn Moon (04/03/2014)

LADEE to Continue Gathering Data Up to Planned Lunar Impact (04/03/2014)

That Sinking Feeling (03/10/2014)

NASA Seminar Series on Near-Earth Asteroids (03/04/2014)

Tournament Earth 2014 (03/03/2014)

ALA/LPI Marvel Moon Webinar (03/03/2014)

NASA and JAXA Launch New Satellite to Measure Global Rain and Snow (02/27/2014)

Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet (02/04/2014)

NASA Preparing for 2014 Mars/Comet Watch (01/29/2014)

Herschel Telescope Detects Water on Dwarf Planet (01/28/2014)

NASA, NOAA To Announce 2013 Global Temperature, Climate Conditions (01/16/2014)

A (LEGO) Model Spacecraft (01/15/2014)

Free Girls on Ice Field Trips for High School Students (01/15/2014)

Send Your Name to an Asteroid! (01/15/2014)

NASA Spacecraft Spots Its First New Asteroid (01/08/2014)

NASA, NASM Host 10-Year Mars Rover Events (01/07/2014)

Astronaut New Year's Greeting (01/02/2014)

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Reveals Clues About Saturn Moon (01/02/2014)

NASA-USGS Landsat 8 Satellite Pinpoints Coldest Spots on Earth (01/02/2014)

NASA Enhances 'Space Station Live' and Launches New Weekly Web Series (01/02/2014)

Summer 2014 Student Opportunities – Internships, Scholarships, and Fellowships with NASA (01/02/2014)

Free Education Webinar Series from NASA Educator Professional Development (01/02/2014)

NASA Sends New Year’s Greeting to NYC (12/30/2013)

NASA Spacecraft Begins Collecting Lunar Atmosphere Data (12/19/2013)

GLOBE at Night Citizen Science (12/17/2013)

Contest: NASA’s REEL Science Videos (12/17/2013)

NASA Brings 'Big Data' to the Cloud (11/12/2013)

NASA MAVEN Prepares to Launch for Mars! (11/11/2013)

LADEE LIFTS OFF for the MOON! (09/11/2013)

New Set of Explore Science Activities (09/05/2013)

International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) 2013! (08/22/2013)

Resource: "A User's Guide to the Universe" Videos Online (03/13/2013)

Mars Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited For Ancient Life (03/13/2013)

Dig It! The Secrets of Soil (01/18/2013)

NASA's New Worlds, New Discoveries (01/17/2013)

Liftoff! Juno Mission Launched to Jupiter & Updates (01/08/2013)