LADEE Survives Glitches To Continue Moon Journey
Reaction wheels are swiftly becoming NASA's arch nemesis. Not long after successive reaction wheel failures put an end to Kepler's planet hunting mission, reaction wheels hit the news again with the launch of NASA's new lunar probe, LADEE. The issue came about soon after LADEE's launch from Virginia on Friday 6th September when mission control reported that the probe's reaction wheels, which help it to change positions, had shut down without warning.
After hours of analysis, the problem was traced to an issue with the safety measures put in place for the reaction wheels during launch. By disabling said safety measures, LADEE was able to regain control of it's reaction wheels, something which will be key if it is to successfully carry out its mission.
LADEE stands for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer and the crafts name gives you a strong idea as to what it has been sent to achieve. With data from LADEE, scientists hope to not only unlock the secrets behind the moon's enchanting glow, but also gain more of an understanding about Surface Boundary Atmospheres, which can be found on numerous objects in our solar system, including large asteroids and the planet Mercury.
It will take the little probe around 30 days to reach the moon, and once there, it will spend approximately 3 months gathering data.