LADEE in Orbit Around Earth

After a spectacular launch, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE, spacecraft was placed into an elliptic orbit around Earth, as the start of our journey back to the moon.  Mission controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center successfully completed the initial systems checkout phase, and everything looks good so far.

LADEE is doing fine and its trajectory to the moon is good. The spacecraft is currently in an elliptical orbit around Earth, about 162,000 miles (260,000 Km) in altitude. Mission controllers are now performing an extended checkout phase.

To see an image and read more about LADEE, visit

The LADEE mission is the latest development in lunar exploration. To give your students an opportunity to plan a lunar mission, check out the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Engineering Design Process: On the Moon: On Target. To gain access to this lesson, visit the NES Virtual Campus at

LRO Offers Sunrise View of Crater Tycho's Peak

Tycho crater's central peak complex, shown here, is about 9.3 miles (15 km) wide, left to right (southeast to northwest in this view)On June 10, 2011, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft pointed the LRO narrow angle cameras to capture a dramatic sunrise view of Tycho crater.

A very popular target with amateur astronomers, Tycho is located at 43.37°S, 348.68°E, and is about 82 kilometers (51 miles) in diameter. The summit of the central peak (shown at left) is 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) above the crater floor. The distance from Tycho’s floor to its rim is about 4.7 kilometers (2.92 miles).

To read more and view additional fascinating images, go to:

This image is directly related to NASA Now: Lunar Mathematics and Mapping, as well as the NASA Explorer Schools “On the Moon Educator’s Guide: On Target” activity.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Now: Lunar Mathematics and Mapping

Join Dr. James Garvin, Chief Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., as he describes the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission and how it is helping us explore the moon like never before. Learn why NASA is interested in studying the moon, what kinds of treasures exist there, and what we might be able to do with them!

Garvin shows how the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, uses an instrument called LOLA to create better maps of the moon than we have ever had and highlights the connection between mapping and mathematics.

NASA Now Minute: Lunar Mathematics and Mapping

Add a Mathematics Component to On Target

Cover: On the Moon educator guideOne of the challenges in education is to modify an activity to address objectives in multiple subject areas, challenging students to use skills from different subject areas to solve a problem. NASA Explorer Schools educator Chris Deleon at Hudson Middle School added a twist to the On Target content module that reached beyond the fundamental standards the activity covers.

Read how Chris incorporated a mathematics component into the NES module On Target to give his students a better sense of what it would be like to work for NASA and solve a very complicated problem. 

Chris’ modification is documented in the On the Moon Educator Guide: On Target forum in NEON.