Technology

LADEE Launched: NASA Brings Broadband To The Moon

NASA hits the new wave of sanity with its newly launched laser-equipped orbiter that is capable of bringing a broadband connection to the moon.

NASA hits the new wave of sanity with its newly launched laser-equipped  orbiter that is capable of bringing a broadband connection to the moon.

The orbiter, which is called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), was launched on 7 September 2013 from from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. LADEE, which is currently on its way to the moon will approximately take 30 days to enter the lunar orbit.

LADEE
Artist’s depiction of the LADEE spacecraft in orbit at the Moon | Credit: NASA Ames (NASA Ames) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This Technology will enable laser pulses to exchange high-capacity signals between Earth and the moon. Also, study the lunar exosphere and dust in the Moon’s vicinity. Other major mission includes :

  • Determination of the the global density, composition, and time variability of the tenuous lunar exosphere before it is perturbed by further human activity.
  • Identification of whether the sighting made by Apollo of diffuse emission were sodium glow or dust.
  • Documentation of the dust impactor environment (size-frequency) to help guide design engineering for the outpost and also future robotic missions.


Video Credit: NASA | Downloads the Future

NewScientist explains: “LADEE will carry a laser with a near-infrared wavelength that is thousands of times shorter, as part of the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration experiment. LLCD will beam signals to Earth at 622 megabits per second, six times as fast as is currently possible from the moon”

To ensure successful transmission of laser signals, the sky should be cloud-free. NASA said bad weather can thwart the transmission and in order to minimise the issue, LLCD will beam its light which will instantly alert any of three detectors in New Mexico, California or Spain to go live.

This is indeed, a huge innovative headway that gathers information from the moon in an instant unlike the one in 1968 which took several days for the image to reach Earth.

It’s a mission of 100 days and LLCD is set to operate for just the first month, but this is just the beginning of what NASA has in store for future and more achievements to unlock.

Meanwhile, China is launching its Chang’e-3 for lunar probe mission.

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