Today in Space History: The NASA Ladee Mission
As I write this right now, a new space probe is headed to the Moon, the first time NASA has sent anything to the Moon in years. The craft is called “LAYDEE” The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. Its mission is to explain the mysterious glow of lunar dust, but more importantly, to scope out potential landing sites for future Moon missions near the southern pole. With any luck, we may get back to the moon by 2018!
It is 25 minutes into the flight, and the brave little craft, newly separated from its enormous Minataur rockets has traveled from Wallups Island Virginia, to the coast of Africa. It is on track to escape the Earth’s orbit and travel for about 3 days to the Moon.
Live streaming video by Ustream
I watched the craft take off from a live feed, which should still be active from NASA.Not only did i hear the roar of the engines and the firey heat coming off the craft, (looking like a marshmallow being heated with a blowtorch), I could see and hear the mission control’s excitement as they shouted excitedly at each rocket stage, and each nominal condition. I can only imagine this was at least a tiny part of the excitement that the crew of the Apollo 11 fealt as they prepared to land on the Moon. Hopefully this mechanical missionary will pave away the lunar dust so that a new generation of astronauts will feel the awe and excitement of seeing the lunar surface, and gain a new perspective of the world as they see the Earth from space.
The crew just said: “God speed on your journey to the moon LAYDEE!”