NASA scientists have been trying to figure out a mystery dating back to the Apollo moon missions, according to the Mother Nature Network. They may be closer to understanding what causes a strange glow on the moon’s horizon just before sunrise. Enter the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft (LADDEE), NASA’s latest moon probe.
LADDEE has just beamed back its first five images of the moon’s surface. Think we’ve been there, done that? By understanding the very thin atmosphere of the moon, scientists are observing what they believe is the most common type of atmosphere in the solar system–exospheres. The $280 million mission began in November and will last a total of 128 days until the couch-sized spacecraft is expected to crash into the moon in April.
As for the mysterious pre-sunrise glow, it could be attributed to electrically charged dust particles in the moon’s atmosphere. The verdict and LADDEE are still out.