NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. PDT Thursday, April 3, to discuss the extended mission operations, additional science gathering, and planned impact in April of the agency's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft into the lunar surface.
Launched in September 2013, LADEE successfully completed in March its 100-day prime science phase and is operating in an extended science phase. Instruments aboard the spacecraft will continue to make science observations and acquire data at progressively lower altitudes until the planned impact.
Scientists hope to address a long-standing question: Was lunar dust, electrically charged by sunlight, responsible for the pre-sunrise glow detected during several Apollo missions above the lunar horizon? LADEE also is gathering detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere.
A thorough understanding of these characteristics of our nearest celestial neighbor will help researchers understand other bodies in the solar system, such as large asteroids, Mercury, and the moons of outer planets.
Teleconference participants are:
-- Joan Salute, LADEE program executive, NASA Headquarters in Washington
-- Butler Hine, LADEE project manager, NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
-- Rick Elphic, project scientist, Ames
Media who want to participate in the teleconference should contact Dwayne Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-358-1726 by 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Media representatives and the public also may ask questions via Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA.