Nasa spacecraft to study Moon's atmosphere
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Nasa hopes to unravel more of the Moon's mysteries on Friday by launching an unmanned mission to study its atmosphere, the US space agency's third such probe in five years.
The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (Ladee is to launch on Friday at 11.27 pm (11.27am Saturday Singapore time) aboard a Minotaur V rocket - a converted peacekeeping missile - from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Since US astronauts last walked on the moon four decades ago, rocket scientists have learned that there is more to the Moon than just a dusty, desolate terrain.
Recent Nasarobotic missions such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have returned troves of images detailing the Moon's cratered surface, while Nasa's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (Grail) revealed how being pummelled by asteroids resulted in the Moon's uneven patches of gravity.