Making history as the first mission to utilize the new mighty Minotaur V rocket, NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Mission is tentatively set to launch September 6, 2013 at 11:27 p.m. ET as the first deep space mission launching from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This nighttime launch is expected to be visible to approximately ½ of the continental U.S. population and presents a spectacular opportunity to engage and inspire the next generation of lunar explorers!
New discoveries have revealed that the Moon is a far more dynamic place than we had previously thought! LADEE will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, 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 travelers to the Moon.
LADEE provides a variety of exciting opportunities for the public to become directly involved in the mission and discover how a new generation of robotic lunar explorers is revolutionizing our understanding of the Moon! Depending on where you are located, you may be able to witness the launch from your community, and for those in less favorable areas, you will still be able to catch the action via live broadcasts from NASA. Consider inviting your local astronomy club and hosting a launch party for your community. Or host programs after the event to invite your patrons to learn more about the Earth’s nearest neighbor and our exploration and new discoveries. Several resources and programming ideas follow. Looking for more details or updates about the LADEE launch, such as when launch will occur and where? For more specific and up-to-date launch information, please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.htm.
|Other useful websites:|
|International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN)
Celebrate Your Moon
Lunar Map Catalog
Pat Rawlings creates images of colonies on the Moon and Mars, as well as a variety of space exploration and research subjects. A great site for sparking imagination!
Artists’ renditions of lunar bases and so much more!
Windows to the Universe is great for anyone who is interested in space science. The website has 3 learning levels that range from beginner to advanced. There are games, links and lots of great information.
Stardate’s website allows you to print out a calendar with the Moon’s phases. Some guidance or assistance may be needed to print the calendar.
LADEE Mart (LADEE-themed gear)
NASA EDGE: Sun-Earth Days 2013, Part 1-3
For more videos related to lunar exploration and LADEE, please visit the LADEE Multimedia webpage.
Lunar Orbiter Image Collection
Apollo Image Gallery
Explore: Marvel Moon
Designed for children ages 8–13 and their families, Explore: Marvel Moon investigates our scientific, cultural, and personal understanding of the Earth’s nearest neighborhood. In particular, discover NASA’s investigations into how was formed, how it has changed over time, and how the Moon influences the Earth and everyone on it! Resources include:
Additional resources, including PowerPoint presentations from lunar scientists, and recommended books and websites for further exploration by the children and their families.
On the Moon Educator Guide
NASA is one of the largest employers of engineers in the world. "Design Squad®," an award-winning TV show that airs on PBS, engages teams of students in imaginative engineering challenges. Together, NASA and "Design Squad" have developed the On the Moon Educator Guide. The guide brings hands-on engineering and the adventure of space exploration to life for learners.
NASA and "DESIGN SQUAD®" have also developed an online workshop for educators and afterschool leaders to build their skills and confidence in guiding kids through engineering activities like those from the On The Moon Educator Guide. Completing this self-guided online workshop will allow science program providers to gain insight and strategies for strengthening critical-thinking skills and exciting their students about using the design process to arrive at solutions.
Moon Mappers (Part of CosmoQuest)
Get your community involved through citizen science! The science you have the chance to help with is being developed by scientists all over the world. Moon Mappers (part of CosmoQuest) is partnering directly with NASA missions to develop citizen science projects that help expand what science they can accomplish. They are currently working with Mercury MESSENGER, the Dawn Mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, New Horizons, and the Space Telescope Science Institute to build a series of projects that map the surfaces of rocky worlds and explore the atmospheres of planets and small bodies the solar system over.
You don't have to be a genius with a PhD to do science. CosmoQuest provides tutorials with educational programs so that you can learn as much as you want about the science you're aiding. CosmoQuest is a place to do, to learn, and to collaborate.
A Field Trip to the Moon Informal Educator Guide
Field Trip to the Moon is a virtual journey created using NASA engineering models and scientific data. Like NASA's astronauts, you will come face-to-face with the challenges and excitement of traveling through space to land on the Moon. Along the way, you'll discover some of the differences between the Earth and the Moon and what makes our planet unique and habitable. A free DVD of Field Trip to the Moon is available for your facility, accompanied by a Companion Guide, Formal Ed ucator's Guide, and Informal Educator's Guide, each with standards-based, hands-on activities. Contact Eric Hamilton to request a copy of the DVD for your program.
1999 Leonid storm of "shooting stars". Image credit: Shinsuke Abe and Hajime Yano, ISAS.
As the Earth (and fellow Moon) travel through space during their orbit around the Sun, they travel through patches of dusty debris left behind by comets. Those of us here on Earth can delight in the resulting meteors (also known as “shooting stars”) — and support the LADEE mission with our observations! During the LADEE Mission, NASA would like to have as many people as possible making and submitting meteor counts so scientists can compare that data to what LADEE’s instruments record. The International Meteor Organization is an excellent source of information about how to observe meteors and submit meteor counts.
People who do not have access to telescopes like those required for the Meteoroid Impact Observation Program, can still make observations that could be of significant value to the LADEE Mission.
By observing and recording rates of meteors visible here on Earth, scientists can make inferences regarding small impacts on the moon’s surface. During meteor counting, excellent observations can be made with the unaided eye. There are no equipment requirements; to conduct observations; no telescopes or binoculars are needed, though a reclining lawn chair makes counting much more comfortable.
As is the case for almost everything today: there’s even an app for that! Meteor Counter is a free app developed by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. It allows observers to use their iPhones (and soon Android phones) to easily record meteor count observations and send their data directly to NASA.
International Observe the Moon Night
Each year, amateur and professional astronomers, lunar scientists, NASA centers, schools, museums, planetariums, and observatories collectively hold hundreds of public events around the world in celebration of International Observe the Moon Night. At these events, the public can learn about the moon, NASA’s missions of lunar science and exploration, and even make their own first-hand lunar observations through telescopes. In 2013, International Observe the Moon Night will fall on Saturday, Oct. 12. To learn more about International Observe the Moon Night, visit their website. The LADEE mission is a proud participant in the planning and organization of International Observe the Moon Night.
Meteoroid Impact Observation Program
Scientists believe meteoroid impacts are among the major sources for the lunar atmosphere and lofted dust. Telescopes with apertures from eight to 14 inches are ideal to detect and record flashes from meteoroid impacts on the lunar surface. Telescopes of this size are common among schools and amateur astronomers. Impact flashes recorded with an astronomical video camera with an accurate time stamp are of great scientific value. During the LADEE Mission, NASA would like to maximize the number of observers watching for and recording lunar meteoroid impacts to correlate these events with any changes LADEE’s instruments might detect in the structure and composition of the lunar atmosphere.
LADEE is partnering with the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers Lunar Meteoritic Impact Search program in this effort. For additional information, please visit NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office webpage including their FAQ PDF, minimum system requirements PDF and free software to help detect impact flashes captured in the videos. Brian Cudnik's book "Lunar Meteoroid Impacts and How to Observe Them," contains a wealth of information that also will be of value to observers participating in this program.
Submit your events at
Have a late Summer Science Bash. Invite families to explore the Moon using hands-on activities and resources. Consider hosting the event on the weekend or an evening.
Create a Lunar Camp. Have a week (afterschool) or weekend of hands-on activities for ‘tweens.’
Get your community involved in a Moon exhibit. Collect pictures, stories, artwork, etc. which may be placed on display.
Invite your local lunar science or engineering expert to talk with your community. Consider a lecture for adults, or a more informal “question and answer” period with younger audiences. Contact your local university, college, or community college, or get in touch with your Solar System Ambassadors.
Host a Moon viewing event. Invite your local astronomical club or society to bring telescopes and co-host the event with you. You can find local clubs through Sky and Telescope or similar organizations. Be sure to ask your local club what objects will be visible in the sky as you plan your event. Consider holding your event as an InOMN) International Observe the Moon Night) event on October 12th!
Throw a Launch Party! Host an event for the launch of LADEE. Project the launch events on a big screen, and incorporate some of the activities in the resources above into your launch party. You could even throw a pajama-and-popcorn-party and invite the community!
Invite your community to participate in the LADEE Meteor Counting campaign during the mission! Please refer to the Meteor Counting information. Consider providing a community bulletin board or social media space for your patrons to share their experiences and observations.
Share information about and consider partnering with other community organizations to help your community participate in the LADEE Meteoroid Impact Observation Program. Local astronomy clubs, universities, and museums are a good place to start and don’t forget your Solar System Ambassadors!
Some Information About the Launch and the Moon
For more Moon facts, please click here.