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RIP LADEE: 9/6/2013 – 4/18/2014

The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, seen orbiting the moon in this artist’s illustration, slammed into the lunar surface April 18, marking the end of its 224-day mission.

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Guest post by Christopher Crockett

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, mission just ended with a literal bang. Having run out of fuel to safely maintain its orbit, LADEE was purposely steered into a slow, steady nosedive toward the lunar surface. The spacecraft plunged into the farside of the moon at 5,800 kilometers per hour around 1 am Eastern time on April 18.

LADEE, launched in September 2013, spent the past several months examining the moon’s tenuous atmosphere. NASA scientists hope to use another spacecraft, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, to get an image of LADEE’s burial site in the next few months.

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