Imagination Ignited: The Launch Of LADEE
Last Friday night, potentially millions of people across the East Coast of the United States saw the spectacular launch of NASA’s latest lunar probe.
At 11:27PM sharp, from its launch pad in Virginia, LADEE rose into space leaving behind a trail of golden exhaust and awed watchers.
Those who watched it online breathed a sign of relief with every mention of “conditions nominal” from the NASA staffers and saw an incredibly well-executed launch. Many of us quickly turned to Twitter to see what people on the ground were seeing in person. These individuals saw something altogether different and fascinating.
Whether planned this way or not, it was clever of NASA to launch a rocket that so many people could see, not just on Twitter and through live streams, but in real life. What’s so special is that the LADEE launch was viewed not just by space enthusiasts, but also by the general public!Judging from Twitter comments, Instagram posts and Flickr uploads, people were inspired and left with jaws agape by the LADEE launch. Surely thousands, if not more, were inspired by this streak of gold venturing up and across the sky.
Because of social media and the ease of photography, it’s easy for people to get involved with a mission like this. We can talk to experts and follow the conversation in real time. We can take photos and instantly upload them online, and share the experience.
While watching the LADEE launch unfold, my imagination gave way to a vision of humans returning to somewhere beyond orbit, to the Moon, Mars or perhaps an asteroid. How many people would view and take part in that? Imagine the hundreds of millions that would gaze up at the sky for an event of that magnitude!
It seems that returning to the Moon, even its orbit, has reignited our collective desire to look up again, and peer into the solar system!
I’ve collected some of my favourite tweets (below) and photos (above) from the event. If you missed it, you can also watch the launch too. See below for EVEN MORE info on the LADEE launch!
The steps outside the Lincoln Memorial are packed with people awaiting the LADEE launch. pic.twitter.com/UxNaRnOvNP— Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust)
— EarthSky (@earthskyscience)
I took a video of the LADEE launch from my balcony and turned it into a long exposure: http://t.co/uCrPtf48ng— Charlie Loyd (@vruba)
— Rob Strong (@robstrong)
— Shelby Highsmith (@shelbinator)
- Space: Liftoff! NASA Moon Probe Launches from Va. to Hunt 40-Year Lunar Mystery
- Wizzer’s World: Shooting the LADEE Launch (The 10 Second Lesson)
- The Guardian: Nasa’s moon mission LADEE spacecraft blasts off successfully
- For more background information on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, check out my post “LADEE: 100 Days of Lunar Science”.
- NASA/Carla Cioffi, “LADEE Launch" September 6, 2013 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
- Anthony Lee, “LADEE Launch" September 6, 2013 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
- Ben Wurst, “LADEE merge" September 6, 2013 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
- Paulo Ordoveza, “Minotaur V Launch with LADEE lunar probe" September 6, 2013 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
- Zach Stern, “Look at LADEE" September 6, 2013 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
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