back to article R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph

NASA has confirmed that the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, which has spent the last 100 days orbiting the Moon, has shuffled off its mortal coil in a spectacular swan dive into the lunar regolith between 9:30pm and 10:22pm PDT on Thursday. LADEE LADEE, the little probe that could "At the …


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  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A well-deserved pint indeed.q

    Not only well-done on this flight but I'm looking forward to rest of the planned missions. The modular approach to spacecraft is one which has been long overdue as it will not only save money and time, but also allow for re-use of proven, reliable modules.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pics or it didn't happen

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      "...between 9:30pm and 10:22pm PDT on Thursday."

      And they held a contest to guess the exact minute of impact... An impact that was planned to be out of sight.

      So, did I win? Did I? Did I? Did I?

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Built out of modular components?

    NASA have been playing far too much kerbal space program lately.....

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Built out of modular components?

      Is that game still in development?

      1. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: Built out of modular components?

        Yes, it's definitely playable though, and there're plenty of user contributed mods to enhance it, and fill in the gaps.

        Topically, here's one example:

      2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: Built out of modular components?

        Yes the game is still coming along nicely, so I hope it's not a dig at them still being in development. As they are so for good reasons, and still doing great.

  4. Urh

    3,600 mph...

    ...or 0.0537% of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum for those using Reg units. By my estimates, the probe would have struck the lunar surface with a force of about 40,000 Norrises. I still haven't tried estimating the size of the impact crater, but I'm confident it will be significantly smaller than a nanoWales.

  5. i like crisps


    ...they did that with the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, couldn't risk it falling back to Earth and landing in someones back eyes are OPEN!!!!

  6. ecofeco Silver badge



  7. Tank boy

    "The total cost for the LADEE mission was $275m, slightly less than two F-35 fighter aircraft."

    And probably a lot more useful!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Never underestimate the use of a good lobbyist to procure excellent wines and company.

    2. Don Jefe

      Imminently more useful than a pair of F-35's. The LADEE craft did everything it was supposed to do, when it was supposed to do them and not a single operator or member of the build and service teams were at risk of LADEE induced death. They didn't even have to rewrite a single performance requirement after it had launched (unless the Moon wasn't really their original target).

      It truly is amazing what Humans can accomplish if you let the people who know what they need actually design and build it instead of the politicians and pseudo-engineers/project managers at aerospace companies.

      1. Rick Brasche

        that's easy

        space is engineering - it either works or it does not. if the politicos or spinmasters screw things up, the results are catastrophic.

        fighter jets (or electric cars) are about politics and marketing. How well they work is a question of what the public is told, and who benefits from their success or failure.

        getting to the moon is getting to the moon, regardless of spin. Like getting to orbit and delivering a payload, vs selling a car. SpaceX vs Tesla.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    622Mbps download rate? Is there an "up to" missing from that or is there throttling in peak hours.

  9. David Roberts Silver badge

    At least we now know that the dark side of the moon is covered in LADEE bits.

  10. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    After detecting the transmission of copyright material...

    ...FACT and MPIAA are already preparing the legal papers to get the data feed turned off, and trying to calculate the damages of transmitting the films to a significant part of the Universe covered by the spread of the lasers. They are a little uncertain about the number of entities who may have received it, as they don't want to ask the people they are acting against, but are believed to be erring on the high side "just to be safe".

    Fortunately, the sums involved, with the added punitive damages, have overflowed their 8 digit calculators.

    1. Grikath

      Re: After detecting the transmission of copyright material...

      "Sir, we understand you have been illegally broadcasting copyrighted material we intend to own into perpetuity, and must now serve you with this subpoena for damages material and immaterial."

      [cue Ominous Hummmmmm....]

      "Son, which bit of "high powered laser" did fail to register on your radar?"

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Ominous Hummmmmm....

        Do I detect a fellow follower of Sgt. Schlock's (mis)adventures?

        Just remember, if you're close enough to hear the ominous hummmm, you're close enough to see the Glow of Doom. IOW, you're too damn close, run away.

  11. Red Bren

    WTF is PDT?

    This is a technology and science focused news website, based in the UK, reporting on an event that occurred on the moon, which is not part of the USA. So why is the author of the article quoting times in some provincial, season dependant time zone? We're geeks and we expect values to be quoted in the appropriate format or El Reg equivalent. UTC or it didn't happen!


    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: WTF is PDT?

      He used PDT 'cause

      1 LADEE would have been controlled by JPL, in Pasadena, California. They use PDT. A manned vehicle would have been controlled out of MCC-H in Texas or TsUP in Moscow, and would have used Texas or Moscow time.

      2 NASA would have released the press release using JPL time, figuring that anyone who actually cared could convert it. Or not.

      3 you are perfectly free to issue press releases timestamped with the time zone of your choice when _you_ run a spacecraft.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: WTF is PDT?

        So IOW the standard is to base the times on the location of whatever or whoever is controlling the thing?

  12. Don Jefe

    Expense Offsets

    You know what NASA needs? Programs to identify opportunities to offset some project expenses. We do it all the time, especially if we're doing destructive prototyping. One of our regular projects are pressure vessels that clients use for stuff like building better beer cans and dive equipment and we've always got at least one company willing to pay us to stick something inside the extra proof(s) and film it. We send them the film and all the sensor data which they then use to in their sales pitches to their clients. It's a nice circle of life kind of thing, for liability purposes we don't ship out anything that has been assigned to a test group (no chance of mixups) and we destroy all test prototypes after the program is complete. Our contract transfers ownership of the prototypes to us on completion as well, so I don't even have to tell the clients what happens with their (ex)stuff after they sign off.

    It's not a profit center for us, more of an expense inhibitor, but it does cover a few intern salaries or a mid level engineer salary (equivalent to several NASA senior management salaries) so it's a good thing. We aren't NASA, but customers still pay big bucks to stick something inside something else with some double sided tape. NASA could command a fortune for the same and looking at the contracts for work we've done for them in the past it's easy to see where the 'paralled embedded experiment' parts would fit (nicely).

    I'm not advocating for the Commercialization of NASA, but reducing costs by maximizing project utility is a win-win for everybody. I guarantee that the pick and place machines that made your phone, or the machines that made your cigarettes or candy are several orders of magnitude more precise and reliable (by usage time) than anything that's ever gone into space (none of those things have Reynolds Wrap adhered to moving parts with Super 77 spray glue, and there are quite a few things in space, one worth several billion dollars, that do). So just build in an extra bracket, tiny weight and power allocations and sell the shit out of it. (Samsung Galaxy S6 - Truly out of this world).

    *My 220 Swift rounds travel at 5,517fps (so groundhogs 1000 yards away are vaporized like shooting them with a laser) so NASA needs some better firearms techs.

    ^The entire program LADEE program was done in the basement of Neil deGrasse Tyson. Special effects wizard and King of Lizard People. You can tell because his reflection is on the side of the craft model in that first image.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One way vMotion?

    622Mbps download. Any coincidence that this is exactly the bandwidth requirement for pre-vSphere 5 vMotion? What did they use that bandwidth for? A transfer of the probe's system state just before the moment of impact? Maybe this is a government plot to make the Moon the new Cloud?

    Anonymous so they don't commit me again.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: One way vMotion?

      My hypothesis would be that pre-vSphere 5 functions were designed to fit in the 622Mbps range because that's the bandwidth supported by much of the industrial wireless comms hardware components that are out there (and pretty much all the hardened, extreme reliability stuff the NASA types seem to prefer).

      Although that seems far too reasonable and not nearly as much fun as thinking this is some sort of misguided attempt by the US to beat the Russians to establishing a strategic 'Lunar Operating and Ordinance Navigation System (LOONS) on the Moon :)

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