Software // Information Management
12:32 PM
Mobile Threats & How to Keep Them at Bay
Jun 01, 2016
With savvy cybercriminals using vulnerabilities in apps, networks, and operating systems to gain c ...Read More>>

NASA Shares LADEE Images Via Instagram

Space agency breaks social networking ground as it promotes photos of Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission.

NASA's LADEE Moon Mission: 5 Goals
NASA's LADEE Moon Mission: 5 Goals
(click image for larger view)
NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission successfully launched on Sept. 6 at 11:27 p.m. EDT from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft is now on its way to the moon and is expected to enter lunar orbit within 30 days. The launch was seen by residents throughout the mid-Atlantic region and by virtual viewers through a new effort involving Instagram.

LADEE is a 160-day robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about its delicate atmosphere. Additionally, it will monitor conditions near the moon's surface and how its environment affects lunar dust. The 844-pound spacecraft lifted off on the U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket -- the first to do so. It was also the first deep space mission to take off from the Wallops Flight Facility.

The spacecraft's science payload consists of three science instruments: an ultraviolet and visible light spectrometer for determining the composition of the lunar atmosphere, a neutral mass spectrometer for measuring variations in the lunar atmosphere, and a lunar dust experiment that will collect and analyze samples of lunar dust particles.

[ For more on NASA's upcoming missions, see NASA's Next 5 Missions, Explored. ]

While in space, LADEE will also perform a technology demo called Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD). It will experiment with using lasers instead of radio waves to achieve broadband speeds when communicating with Earth. NASA's high-data-rate laser communication system may exhibit rates six times greater than today's advanced radio communication systems.

The LADEE mission is also the first by NASA to take advantage of the Facebook's photo-sharing social media website, Instagram, to promote Friday's launch. NASA has been among the most active of federal agencies to use social media to interact with the public. The space agency joined Instagram on Sept. 6 to post photos of the LADEE mission.

The initial images included one taken in July 1969 from Apollo 11, displaying the Earth rising over the moon. The other showed the moon's surface in detail, captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's (LRO) wide-angle camera. NASA later updated Instagram with images from the actual launch, and has since started including other missions and projects.

NASA said it will continue to use Instagram to post images and videos from past and present, encompassing aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science and human spaceflight. While this is the first official NASA account, the agency's Goddard Spaceflight Center and Ames Research Center already have a presence on Instagram. NASA's existing social media portfolio includes Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare and Reddit, among others.

While LADEE had no issues with liftoff, it experienced a glitch just moments after separating from the Minotaur launch vehicle, when LADEE's onboard computer shut down the reaction wheels that are used to position and stabilize the spacecraft. NASA confirmed on Sept. 7 that the reaction wheels were brought back online and that LADEE had reached a safe-mode profile.

"The reaction wheel issue noted soon after launch was resolved a few hours later. The LADEE spacecraft is healthy and communicating with mission operators," NASA Ames Research Center director S. Pete Worden said in a written statement.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Author
9/12/2013 | 3:11:19 AM
re: NASA Shares LADEE Images Via Instagram
NASA deserves credit for how it exploring the social media space as actively as it does out space.
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2016 InformationWeek Elite 100
Our 28th annual ranking of the leading US users of business technology.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.