The Lunar Dust Experiment onboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Mission
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and Department of Physics
Boulder, Colorado, USA
The lunar surface is continually bombarded by interplanetary dust particles generating copious amounts of secondary ejecta grains. In addition, the surface is exposed to the solar wind plasma flow and UV radiation. Recent observations by the Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) onboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment (LADEE) mission, that was in orbit around the Moon in the period of October 2013 - April 2014, identified an ejecta cloud forming a dust exosphere around the Moon. In addition to characterizing the spatial and temporal variability of the lunar ejecta cloud, the instrument was also capable of observing the presence of high-number-density lofted dust particles with sizes below the single detection limit of the instrument. The existence of levitated small nano-particles has been anticipated based on visual observations, and several surface experiments indicating an intermittent lunar horizon glow. The mechanism to mobilize and loft these tiny particles has been attributed to their electrostatic charging and interaction with intense electric fields. LDEX did not verify the existence of this population of high-altitude lofted particles, however these observation do not exclude electrostatic dust mobilization near the lunar surface at altitudes < 1 km.
Created 2017-09-15 10:28:16 by Mats HolmstrÃ¶m Last changed 2017-09-15 10:28:16 by Mats HolmstrÃ¶m