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LADEE, first flight to the moon from Wallops Flight Facility

Of course everyone reading this knows about the #NASASocial event for the launch of the LADEE mission to Lunar orbit happening this week on Thursday (9/5) and Friday (9/6).  Follow NASASocial/lists/ladee-launch-social plus @NASA_Wallops, @NASALADEE, @NASAAmes, @NASAGoddard, and also @LRO_NASA for updates.

A nice piece of Wallops history was raised by @TeresaR_WV: “Explorer 9 was the first spacecraft placed in orbit by an all-solid rocket and the first spacecraft successfully launched into orbit from Wallops Island.” (1961, NSSDC).

The LADEE social will be covering a huge range of subjects, including the following.

The LADEE mission will be collecting data on the Lunar Exosphere, specifically tightening the boundaries on gas and dust types and quantities found at altitudes under 50 km so that future work can develop an understanding of the surface boundary exospheric processes that occur on inert rocky bodies like the Moon and Mercury. And the LADEE mission will be flight qualifying the LLCD free space optical communications link. Data collection in the Lunar Exosphere will employ three instruments.

The Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS) determines captured (Lunar Exosphere) gas particle types (element) using a kind of electromagnetic filter called an RF Quadrupole or Quadrupole mass analyzer, or Mass Spectrometer. Instruments very similar to this one have flown on many deep space missions including CASSINI. In determining gas types with fairly high frequency (many per second), gas quantity and distribution can be determined over time.

The Ultraviolet – Visible Spectrometer (UVS) will determine observed (Lunar Exosphere) gas types by the characteristic electromagnetic emission spectra of gas particles impacted by solar radiation. It is also capable of a few additional modes (that I haven’t groked yet) that provide information about gas and dust processes in the exosphere.

The Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) captures larger “dust” particles to determine composition and distribution over time, not entirely unlike the NMS. Also not entirely unlike the NMS, it employs an electromagnetic process to do so.

The NMS and LDEX are forward facing, while the UVS is rearward facing, in LADEE’s direction of flight. That is, LADEE flies sideways relative to its Lunar Capture rocket engine which it points out of the way otherwise.

The NASA TV broadcast schedule includes events on Thursday and Friday.

September 5, Thursday

10 -11:30 a.m. – NASA Social for LADEE Mission Live from the Wallops Flight Facility – HQ/WFF (Education Channel)

3 p.m. – LADEE Prelaunch Mission Briefing – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

4 p.m. – LADEE Mission Science and Technology Demonstration Briefing – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

September 6, Friday

6-10 a.m. –Live Interviews on the LADEE Mission – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

4-6 p.m. – Live Interviews on LADEE Mission – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

9:30 p.m. – Live Launch Coverage and Commentary on LADEE Mission – HQ/GSFC/WFF (Public and Media Channels)

9:30 p.m. – Simulcast of NASA EDGE Live Webcast of LADEE Mission and Launch – LARC/HQ/WFF (Education Channel)

September 7, Saturday

2 a.m. – LADEE Post Launch News Conference –HQ/WFF (All Channels)

The LADEE Mission Pages have info for viewing the launch from the US East Coast, and most importantly how to get involved in citizen science!

Vote for an Amazing SpaceTweep panel at SXSW!

Vote for an Amazing SpaceTweep panel at SXSW!

Tweeps, we have proposed a great panel for the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive festival. Our panel is called, “How to Win Friends and Influence Space Exploration,” and you can read about it here. While you’re there, please help us out by voting for the panel and giving us your feedback in the comments on the voting page.

We have a great group lined up including me from the Space Tweep Society, @Chris_Radcliff from SpaceUp@tim846 from Yuri’s Night@harbingeralpha from Valador, Inc. (a NASA contractor), @mrdoornbos from Evadot.com and @Astro_Ron from NASA of course, but also Fragile Oasis.

We really need your votes to ensure our panel is chosen from among the thousands of others. Yes, you’ll have to log in, but please take the time to do it. We’ll appreciate it more than you could know and if chosen, we will use our panel to spread the space tweep goodness to a whole new audience.

Thank you!


Lets Talk!

I know a good few Space Tweeps have landed on Google+ recently and I think, for the moment, it represents an exciting new social media outlet for our experiences and ideas. It’s invite-only testing for now but already I have over 50 people in my Space Tweeps circle, and I’m sure there are many more!

One feature I’m itching to try and leverage for open discussions with other Tweeps is the ‘Google Hangouts.’ Essentially it’s video/audio chat with really awesome group integration.

Hangouts are easy to join if you already have Google+ and you can either use video/audio or audio only if you prefer. The only setup you need to do is to ensure the Google Video and Audio plugin is installed on your computer and then setup you microphone and video camera.

You can do this two ways:

  • When you join your first Hangout
  • If you want to turn up prepared (it takes about 5 minutes to download and install) you can click ‘Start a Hangout’ and the popup window will ask you to install the plugin, once you’ve installed the plugin and it is working you can close the Hangout window without starting.

Is Google+ worth your time?

Hi all, @erikhess here, I posted a small blog entry over on G+ about how I think it might be worth investigating for spacetweeps. To be honest, I don’t spend nearly enough time here on the blog, and it’s probably mostly I feel like my online time is limited and can barely keep up with Twitter and Facebook. I love the posts, but I wonder if this could become more closely integrated with other social tools for ease of viewing. The twitter integration here looks pretty cool, but I think I might still miss things if I’m not online when it’s tweeted. I wonder if we could cross-post with a site like G+?

If you’re on G+, please add me to your circles- I’ve started adding people I recognize to my “space” circle, so come on over and read it and share your thoughts.