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Topic: NASA’s GRAIL Mission

NASA’s GRAIL Twin Spacecraft data shows origin of Surface Gravity on Earth’s Moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The origin of massive invisible regions that make the moon’s gravity uneven, a phenomenon that affects the operations of lunar-orbiting spacecraft has been uncovered by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.

Because of GRAIL’s findings, future spacecraft on missions to other celestial bodies can navigate with greater precision.

Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft mapped the moon's gravity field, as depicted in this artist's rendering. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft mapped the moon’s gravity field, as depicted in this artist’s rendering. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s GRAIL mission spacecrafts crash site on the Moon dedicated to Astronaut Sally Ride

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday in honor of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America’s first woman in space and a member of the probes’ mission team.

Last Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near the moon’s north pole.

The final flight path for NASA's twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on December 17th. GRAIL's MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space.

The final flight path for NASA’s twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on December 17th. GRAIL’s MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space.

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NASA’s Ebb and Flow spacecraft on final decent to Moon Impact

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The lunar twins of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission have each completed a rocket burn that has sealed their fate. The burns modified the orbit of the formation-flying spacecraft.

Over the next three days, this new orbit will carry the twins lower and lower over the moon’s surface. On Monday afternoon, December 17th, at about 2:28pm PST (5:28pm EST), their moon-skimming will conclude when a portion of the lunar surface – an unnamed mountain near the natural satellite’s north pole – rises higher than their orbital altitude.

An artist's depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL's prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft orbited the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

An artist’s depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL’s prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft orbited the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)(Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)(Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

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NASA’s GRAIL Lunar Probes to impact the Moon’s Surface December 17th

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecraft that have allowed scientists to learn more about the internal structure and composition of the moon are being prepared for their controlled descent and impact on a mountain near the moon’s north pole at about 2:28pm PST (5:28pm EST) Monday, December 17th.

Ebb and Flow, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission probes, are being sent purposely into the lunar surface because their low orbit and low fuel levels preclude further scientific operations. The duo’s successful prime and extended science missions generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The map will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved.

Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL flew twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL flew twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

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NASA’s GRAIL probes create high resolution gravity field map of the Moon

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Twin NASA probes orbiting Earth’s moon have generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body.

The new map, created by the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, is allowing scientists to learn about the moon’s internal structure and composition in unprecedented detail. Data from the two washing machine-sized spacecraft also will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved.

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NASA’s Twin Grail Spacecraft begin Extended Science Mission around the Moon

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s twin, lunar-orbiting Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft began data collection for the start of the mission’s extended operations.

At 9:28am PDT (12:28pm EDT) yesterday, while the two spacecraft were 19 miles (30 kilometers) above the moon’s Ocean of Storms, the Lunar Gravity Ranging System — the mission’s sole science instrument aboard both GRAIL twins — was energized.

Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

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NASA’s GRAIL Spacecraft fly in Formation around the Moon at 3,600 MPH

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The act of two or more aircraft flying together in a disciplined, synchronized manner is one of the cornerstones of military aviation, as well as just about any organized air show. But as amazing as the U.S. Navy’s elite Blue Angels or the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds are to behold, they remain essentially landlocked, anchored if you will, to our planet and its tenuous atmosphere. What if you could take the level of precision of these great aviators to, say, the moon?

An artist's depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL's prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft will orbit the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

An artist's depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL's prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft will orbit the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

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NASA’s GRAIL Spacecraft returns First Student-Selected Moon Images

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One of two NASA spacecraft orbiting the moon has beamed back the first student-requested pictures of the lunar surface from its onboard camera. Fourth grade students from the Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, MT, received the honor of making the first image selections by winning a nationwide competition to rename the two spacecraft.

The image was taken by the MoonKam, or Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students.

This image of the far side of the lunar surface, with Earth in the background, was taken by the MoonKAM system board the Ebb spacecraft as part of the first image set taken from lunar orbit from March 15th - 18th, 2012. (NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT/SRS)

This image of the far side of the lunar surface, with Earth in the background, was taken by the MoonKAM system board the Ebb spacecraft as part of the first image set taken from lunar orbit from March 15th - 18th, 2012. (NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT/SRS)

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GRAIL and the Mystery of the Missing Moon

 

Written by Dauna Coulter
Science@NASA

NASAPasadena, CA – As early as September 8th, NASA’s GRAIL mission will blast off to uncover some of the mysteries beneath the surface of the Moon. That cratered gray exterior hides some tantalizing things – even, perhaps, a long-lost companion.

The “Big Splat.” Four snapshots from a computer simulation of a collision between the Moon and a smaller companion show how the splattered companion moon forms a mountainous region on one side of the Moon. Credit: M. Jutzi and E. Asphaug, Nature. [more] If a paper published recently in the journal Nature* is right, two moons once graced our night skies. The proposition has not been proven, but has drawn widespread attention.

Flying in formation around the Moon, NASA's twin GRAIL spacecraft will make precise measurements of the lunar gravitational field.

Flying in formation around the Moon, NASA's twin GRAIL spacecraft will make precise measurements of the lunar gravitational field.

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