AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Ground-based Efforts to Support a Space-based Experiment: the Latest LADEE Results (Abstract)

Volume 42 number 2 (2014)

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Brian Cudnik
Department of Chemistry and Physics, Prarie View A&M University, P. O. Box 519, M.S. 2230, Prairie View, TX 77446
Mahmudur Rahman
Department of Chemistry and Physics, Prarie View A&M University, P. O. Box 519, M.S. 2230, Prairie View, TX 77446

Abstract

(Abstract only) The much anticipated launch of NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer happened flawlessly last October and the satellite has been doing science (and sending a few images) since late Novermber. [The LADEE mission ended with the crash-landing of the spacecraft on the lunar far side on April 17, 2014, capping a successful 140-day mission.] We also have launched our campaign to document lunar meteroid impact flashes from the ground to supply ground truth to inform of any changes in dust concentration encountered by the spacecraft in orbit around the moon. To date I have received six reports of impact flashes or flash candidates from the group I am coordinating; other groups around the world may have more to add when all is said and done. In addition, plans are underway to prepare a program at Prairie View A&M University to involve our physics majors in lunar meteoroid, asteroid occultation, and other astronomical work through our Center for Astronomical Sciences and Technology. This facility will be a control center to not only involve physics majors, but also to include pre-service teachers and members of the outside community to promote pro-am collaborations.