NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header

Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX)

NSSDCA ID: 2013-047A-03

Mission Name: Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)
Principal Investigator:Dr. Mihaly Horanyi


The LADEE Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) is designed to directly detect dust particles at the orbital altitude (nominally 50 km) of the spacecraft. The scientific objective is to map the size and density distribution of the dust and characterize the temporal variability at this altitude.

LDEX is an impact ionization dust detector using a hemispherical impact target with an effective sensor area of approximately 100 square cm. When a dust particle strikes the target a plasma cloud is created. An ion focusing grid separates the ions and electrons, the electrons are measured by a charge sensitive amplifier and the ions by a microchannel plate, and the current pulse of the impact is measured. The system can detect individual dust grains of radius greater than 0.3 microns, and can also measure the cumulative charge from a population of smaller grains (0.1 to 0.3 microns).

LDEX is approximately 3.6 kg, 15 x 15 x 20 cm in size, and is mounted on the upper deck of the LADEE spacecraft with the impact target facing the direction of flight. It will use 3.8 W in operation and 6.11 W peak power.

Alternate Names

  • LDEX
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:instrument.ldex__ladee
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:ladee.ldex

Facts in Brief

Mass: 3.6 kg
Power (avg): 3.8 W
Bit rate (avg): 1 kbps


  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Mihaly HoranyiPrincipal InvestigatorUniversity of

Selected References

  • Horanyi, M., et al., The Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) Onboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Mission, Space Sci. Rev., 185, No. 1-4, 93-113, doi:10.1007/s11214-014-0118-7, Dec. 2014.
  • Horanyi, M., et al., A permanent, asymmetric dust cloud around the Moon, Nature, 522, No. 7556, 324-326, doi:10.1038/nature14479, Jun. 2015.
[] NASA Logo -