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On This Day in Space! April 18, 2014: NASA's LADEE probe crashes into the moon

On April 18, 2014, NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) ended its mission by crashing into the moon. LADEE had spent seven months orbiting the moon and studying its exosphere, a thin layer of gas that's kind of like an atmosphere, but the molecules are more spread out.

LADEE conducted a lunar dust experiment in which it collected and analyzed the dust particles floating around in the exosphere. This experiment was intended to help NASA solve the mystery behind the faint glow Apollo astronauts reported seeing on the lunar horizon.  

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This NASA photo of the LADEE moon orbiter as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter identifies key parts of the LADEE spacecraft (geometrically corrected). Image released Jan. 29, 2014.

This NASA photo of the LADEE moon orbiter as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter identifies key parts of the LADEE spacecraft (geometrically corrected). Image released Jan. 29, 2014. (Image credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)
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This NASA graphic shows an artist's view of NASA's LADEE moon dust probe overlaid on a photo of the actual spacecraft captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (geometrically corrected). Image released Jan. 29, 2014.

This NASA graphic shows an artist's view of NASA's LADEE moon dust probe overlaid on a photo of the actual spacecraft captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (geometrically corrected). Image released Jan. 29, 2014. (Image credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)

LADEE discovered neon in the exosphere, but it wasn't enough to account for the glow, and the mystery remains unsolved. 

When LADEE ran out of fuel, NASA intentionally crashed it into into the lunar surface. It was traveling 3,600 miles per hour (5,800 km/h) during the crash and created a crater almost 10 feet (3 meters) wide.

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  • The Exoplanets Channel
    Very interesting
    Reply
  • Arc Light
    Just so you know, the X-15 took off from Edwards AFB under the wing of a B-52 & was airdropped over Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada. The flight to the altitude record wasn't planned, but the rocket engine burned for two seconds longer than expected. The test flight was scheduled to peak at 280,000', but actually reached 314, 750' due to the extra rocket burn time.
    Reply
  • Fourth Root
    Misleading wording. Bob White did not set the world altitude record on July 17th, 1962. Four Astronauts and two cosmonauts had flown higher prior to his flight. One could say it was the highest manned flight of a winged craft. But that's not the wording that was used.
    Reply
  • DrRaviSharma
    On this date in 1969, I was part of NASA Apollo Team

    Contributed to Experiments in orbit and on Surface of Moon (ALSEP) etc.also trained astronauts

    Studied containation on and ouside Spacecraft.

    The Moon gave me employment to work for 5 Years on exciting Human Space flight Programs Skylab, Planning of Space Station and Space Shuttle

    See My picture taken with Buzz Aldrin in 2009
    https://www.space.com/india-moon-landing-not-a-failure.html
    I received Apollo Achievement Award from NASA dated July 20, 1969.

    Thanks Hanneke Weitering for today's Historic post

    Ravi
    Dr. Ravi Sharma
    Reply