Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer

The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a space exploration mission planned for launch in 2011. To carry out the mission NASA will send a robotic spacecraft into orbit around the Moon, and use instruments aboard the spacecraft to study the Moon's atmosphere and dust in the Moon's vicinity. Instruments will include a dust counter and a neutral mass spectrometer. LADEE was announced during the presentation of NASA's FY09 budget in February 2008. It will be launched together with the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory payload.


  1. Determine the global density, composition, and time variability of the fragile lunar atmosphere before it is perturbed by further human activity;
  2. Determine if the Apollo astronaut sightings of diffuse emission at 10s of km above the surface were Na glow or dust and;
  3. Document the dust impactor environment (size-frequency) to help guide design engineering for the outpost and also future robotic missions.


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