Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)

Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.

Information Courtesy of NASA:

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a robotic mission that 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 characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well.

The LADEE spacecraft’s modular common spacecraft bus, or body, is an innovative way of transitioning away from custom designs and toward multi-use designs and assembly-line production, which could drastically reduce the cost of spacecraft development, just as the Ford Model T did for automobiles.

Onboard, LADEE will include three science instruments and a technology demonstration.

    • Ultraviolet and Visible Light Spectrometer: will determine the composition of the lunar atmosphere by analyzing light signatures of materials it finds.
    • Neutral Mass Spectrometer: will measure variations in the lunar atmosphere over multiple lunar orbits with the moon in different space environments.
    • Lunar Dust Experiment: will collect and analyze samples of any lunar dust particles in the tenuous atmosphere. These measurements will help scientists address a mystery: was lunar dust, electrically charged by solar ultraviolet light, responsible for pre-sunrise horizon glow that Apollo astronauts saw?
  • Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration: will demonstrate the use of lasers instead of radio waves to achieve broadband speeds to communicate with Earth.

Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)

The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) is a powerful set of three instruments onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover that work together to investigate the chemistry of the Martian surface and atmosphere within Gale Crater.

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (Maven)

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (Maven)

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is part of NASA’s Mars Scout program, funded by NASA Headquarters

Information: courtesy of NASA

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is part of NASA’s Mars Scout program, funded by NASA Headquarters. Set to launch in 2013, the mission will explore the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.

Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of volatile compounds—such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water—from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time, giving insight into the history of Mars’ atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.
The principal investigator is Dr. Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP).

MAVEN is the first Mars mission managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center.

MAVEN’s instrument suite will consist of eight sensors:

    • Magnetometer
    • Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer
    • Langmuir Probe and Waves
    • Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer
    • Solar Wind Electron Analyzer
    • Solar Wind Ion Analyzer
    • Solar Energetic Particles
    • SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition

Partners:

The University of Colorado will coordinate the science team and science operations and lead the education and public outreach activities.

NASA Goddard will also provide mission systems engineering, mission design, and safety and mission assurance.

Instruments on the spacecraft will be provided by the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and NASA Goddard, with the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, Toulouse, France, providing the sensor for one instrument.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Md., will develop the spacecraft, conduct assembly, test and launch operations, and provide mission operations at their Littleton, Colorado facility.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will provide navigation support, the Deep Space Network, and Electra telecommunications relay package.