Thursday / 20 August 2015

Neon Confirmed In Ultra Thin Lunar Atmosphere

8202015Robotic Moon Mission LADEE Neutral Mass Spectrometer Providing Comprehensive Data On Lunar Atmosphere, Surface Conditions & Dust Within The Environment; Mehdi Benna Of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Confirms Presence Of Neon In Moon Exosphere; Along With Helium, & Argon, Neon Is Volatile Enough To Enter Atmosphere From Surface After Deposit By Solar Wind; Benna Notes “It’s Critical To Learn About The Lunar Exosphere Before Sustained Human Exploration Substantially Alters It” Referring To Rocket Exhaust & Spacecraft Outgassing

Credit: NASA

Weekend Edition
Fri-Mon / 10-13 July 2015

Cislunar Communication Making Advances


NASA Successful Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) Paving Way For Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) 2017 Launch As Payload On Space Systems Loral (SSL) Commercial Satellite; LLCD Which Utilizes Laser vs. Radio Frequency (RF) Has Many Benefits Including: Quick Data Transmission 10-100x Faster Than RF, High Bandwidths & Less Mass / Power

Credit: NASA

Friday / 19 June 2015

LADEE Data Indicate Permanent Asymmetrical Dust Cloud Around Moon LADEE

Moon May Have Permanent Cloud Layer Formed By High-Speed Comet Dust Particles On Eccentric Orbits According To University Of Colorado Study Of NASA LADEE Mission Which Recorded 140,000 Impacts Over 80 Days; Lead Author Mihaly Horányi States Moon May Have 120kg Of Dust In Atmosphere At Any Given Time, Other Bodies With Thin Atmosphere Expected To Have Same Phenomenon; Evidence Also Recorded From Apollo Astronaut Observations From Surface & Of Lunar Terminator

Credit: NASA, University of Colorado – Boulder

Thursday / 2 April 2015

Lunar Dust Experiments Opening Future Exploration Possibilities


LADEE Results Indicate Tail Of Nanoscale Particles Trailing Moon, Likely Expelled By Asteroid Impact, <0.001g / Square Meter; LADEE Spectrometer PI Says Phenomenon Could Offer New Way To Study Surface Of Airless Planetary Bodies, “Collect Their Tails Rather Than Landing On Them”; Moon RIDERS Educational Project Testing System To Remove Lunar Dust From Moon Lander Equipment Using High Voltage Square Waves Being Tested At NASA Ames; Project Is Collaboration Of Hawai`i High Schools, NASA, GLXP Teams, PISCES

Image Credit: NASA,

Weekend Edition
Fri-Mon / 13-16 March 2015

Lunar Exploration Scientists Gather At LPSC 2015


46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Held On 16-20 March At The Woodlands, Texas; Event Begins With Session On Results From Recent Lunar Missions LADEE, GRAIL & Chang’e-3; Highlighted Concurrent Events Include LRO Data Users Workshop On 15 Mar, NextGen Lunar Scientists And Engineers Workshop, Lunar Cubes Mission Opportunities Workshop, Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) Town Hall; Pictured: Conference Co-Chairs Steve Mackwell Of LPI, Eileen Stansbery Of NASA JSC

Image Credit: NASA, LPI, CNSA

Tuesday / 21 October 2014

Lunar Scientists Gather For
LEAG Annual Meeting 22-24 Oct

LEAG Oct 22-24

Lunar Exploration Analysis Group Meeting Taking Place 22-24 October In Laurel MD At JHU/APL; 3 “Current Understanding” Sessions On Lunar Volatiles With Major Focus Moon South Pole / Permanently Shadowed Craters, Solar Wind, Data From LRO / LADEE / ARTEMIS, Potential For Human Stays On Moon; 2 Sessions On Future Exploration Instruments, Missions, Techniques, Strategies & Opportunities; 50+ Speakers (L-R) Include Jacob Bleacher (NASA), John Thorton (Astrobotic), James Carpenter (ESA)

Image Credit: LEAG, JHU/APL, NASA

Friday / 23 May 2014

LADEE Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration Performance To Be Detailed

LLCD 2014

New Comprehensive Overview Of LLCD To Be Presented At CLEO 2014 Conference 8-13 June By Team From MIT Lincoln Laboratory (Developer Of Primary Lunar Laser Ground Terminal); Will Describe Techniques To Achieve Error-Free Performance Over ~400,000km Distance / Atmospheric Disturbances; Transmitted Data From Earth To Moon At 19.44 Megabits Per Second – Beat Previous Record By Factor Of 4,800; Significant For Moon & Beyond Missions, Real-Time Communication & 3-D HD Video

Image Credit: NASA

Weekend Edition
Fri-Mon / 18-21 April 2014

LADEE Spacecraft Meets End,
Science Data Analysis Continues

LADEE Spacecraft End

LADEE Orbiting At ~5,793kph Collected Valuable Science Data & Mimicked Surveyor / Apollo ‘Twilight Ray’ Observations With Star Tracker At ~91-Meter Altitude Prior To Far-Side Impact 17 Apr Between 21:30-22:22 PDT, Possibly Smashing Into Lunar Crater Or Mountain Ridge; Will Take More Than 1 Year To Analyze Successful US$280M Mission Data Including LDEX Characterization Of Ejecta Cloud & Perturbations From Chang’e-3 Landing; Completion Of 5th USA Moon Orbiter Mission Since Apollo Era, No Controlled Landings Achieved After 1972

Pictured: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden & part of the LADEE Team

Image Credit: NASA

Friday / 18 April 2014

Lunar Orbiters Survive Eclipse With Flying Colors


LRO Survives 2 Consecutive Orbits Going Straight From Moon Shadow To Earth Shadow; LRO Twitter Account Reports Probe Instruments Dropped To 15° C; Engineers Were Less Confident That LADEE Would Survive Cold, In Normal Orbit Probe Is Deprived Of Sunlight For 1 Hour, During Eclipse It Survived 4 Hours Of Shadow; Mission Team Received Yellow Then Red Alarms As Power / Temperatures Dropped, Once Sunlight Returned All Returned To Normal, Allowing Spacecraft To Continue Collecting Valuable Data While Gradually Reducing Altitude

Image Credit: NASA, Astro Bob

Tuesday / 15 April 2014

Lunar Eclipse Provides Challenges / Opportunities For Moon Craft


Total Lunar Eclipse Visible In Western Hemisphere 15 Apr Between 07:06-08:24 UT, First Of Series Of 4 (Tetrad) In Next 18 Months; Celestial Geometry Will Challenge LRO Systems As Craft Will Pass Through Earth Shadow In 2 Consecutive Orbits; Eclipse Could Cause LADEE Propulsion Systems To Freeze, Yet Should Not Affect Scheduled ~21 Apr Impact; Chang’e-3 Lander Will Have Unique View Of Earth (TL) During Eclipse, Potential Opportunity To Study How Moon Cools While In Earth Shadow

Image Credit: NASA