NASA has released information that concludes that a lopsided ring of dust is circling our Moon.
The results from NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, mission are the first to show the moon is engulfed in a permanent, but lopsided, dust cloud.
‘Knowledge about the dusty environments in space has practical applications,’ said CU-Boulder physics Professor Mihaly Horanyi.
‘Knowing where the dust is and where it is headed in the solar system could help mitigate hazards for future human exploration, including dust particles damaging spacecraft or harming astronauts.’
The cloud was discovered using data from a detector on board LADEE called the Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) designed and built by CU-Boulder.
LDEX charted more than 140,000 impacts during the six-month long mission, which launched in September 2013 and orbited the moon for about six months.
The LADEE science team has been busy analyzing the returned data, figuring out how the exosphere breathes and changes, and how the moon’s tenuous dust shroud varies in time and space.