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LADEE mission ends with lunar impact
Posted: Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 8:46 AM ET (1246 GMT)
LADEE illustration (NASA) A NASA spacecraft wrapped up a several-month mission to study the Moon's dust environment by crashing into the lunar surface late Thursday. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft crashed into the lunar surface some time between 9:30 pm and 10:22 pm PDT Thursday (0430 and 0522 GMT Friday), NASA announced Friday, not giving a specific impact location other than the lunar farside. The spacecraft, launched in September, entered lunar orbit in early October on a mission to study the Moon's tenuous atmosphere and dust environment. The spacecraft also performed a test of laser communications, transmitting data at rates of up to 622 Mbps. LADEE completed its primary mission early this year and gradually lowered its orbit at it exhausted its remaining propellant. Engineers plan to refine the impact location based on spacecraft telemetry, then have NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter take images of the suspected impact site.
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