NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission is a lunar orbiter studying the lunar exosphere. LADEE has two primary science objectives:
1. Determine the composition of the lunar exosphere and investigate the processes that control its distribution and variability, including sources, sinks, and surface interactions.
2. Characterize the lunar exospheric dust environment and measure any spatial and temporal variability and impacts on the lunar exosphere.

Meteoroid impacts are thought to be among the major sources for the lunar exosphere and lofted dust, and the LADEE mission is working with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office and the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers to facilitate a lunar meteoroid impact observation campaign to support mission science.

During the LADEE Mission, NASA would like to work with a network of observers watching for and recording lunar meteoroid impacts in order to correlate these events with any changes LADEE’s instruments might detect in the structure and composition of the lunar exosphere and the nature of any lofted dust. This could help us gain a better understanding of the role of meteoroid impacts as a source for the lunar exosphere and lofted dust.

We would like to have a broad geographic distribution of observers around the world to maximize coverage of impact events. Telescopes with apertures as small as eight inches can be ideal for this type of work.

To facilitate these studies, NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (formerly the NASA Lunar Science Institute) hosted the Lunar Meteoroid Impacts and LADEE Mission Workshop. This half-day workshop was an online, web-based, virtual workshop on December 5, 2013, designed to allow experts in lunar meteoroid impact observation to share information on technology and techniques, and interact with mission science team members to better integrate the observation campaign with mission science. It also allowed an audience of observers with little or no experience in impact observations to learn from experienced observers and gain an understanding of the equipment and techniques needed to participate in this exciting research.

Presenters included Rick Elphic (LADEE Project Scientist), Brian Cudnik (Coordinator of the ALPO Lunar Meteoritic Impact Search, Author of “Lunar Meteoroid Impacts and How to Observe Them), Rob Suggs (NASA Meteoroid Environment Office), George Varros (pioneering observer of lunar meteoroid impacts and author of “Nudger” lunar auto-guider software), and Peter Gural (author of LunarScan impact detection software).

Because of our international audience, the workshop was recorded and archived for convenient viewing. You can view the workshop at

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: B. Day/SSERVI Staff

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