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To the Moon We Go Again!

September 3, 2013

Originally posted on Research & Collections:

Artist's rendering of LADEE, superimposed on image of the Moon (Credit: NASA).

Artist’s rendering of LADEE, superimposed on image of the Moon (Credit: NASA).

This week, we launch once more to the Moon.

On Friday, September 6, 2013, at 11:27 pm Eastern Daylight Time,  NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, pronounced like “caddie”) — a new robotic mission — is scheduled to launch to the Moon to further explore its unusual atmosphere. LADEE’s overarching goal is to explore the precise composition of the Moon’s atmosphere, and how this changes over time. As many nations are gearing up to explore the Moon, whether for science or as a future human outpost, studying the natural composition and cycling of the lunar atmosphere is critical toward understanding how future missions could alter this natural state.

Our only natural satellite, and the fifth-largest in the solar system, our Moon is much more than a photogenic rocky body orbiting our planet once roughly every 27 days (27…

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