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Topic: NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory

NASA’s GRAIL mission data reveals ‘Ocean of Storms’ region of Earth’s Moon formed from ancient rift valleys

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL), mission scientists have solved a lunar mystery almost as old as the moon itself.

Early theories suggested the craggy outline of a region of the moon’s surface known as Oceanus Procellarum, or the Ocean of Storms, was caused by an asteroid impact. If this theory had been correct, the basin it formed would be the largest asteroid impact basin on the moon.

A view of Earth's moon looking south across Oceanus Procellarum, representing how the western border structures may have looked while active. (NASA/Colorado School of Mines/MIT/JPL/GSFC)

A view of Earth’s moon looking south across Oceanus Procellarum, representing how the western border structures may have looked while active. (NASA/Colorado School of Mines/MIT/JPL/GSFC)

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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 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 Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) completed it’s Prime Mission early

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A NASA mission to study the moon from crust to core has completed its prime mission earlier than expected. The team of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, with twin probes named Ebb and Flow, is now preparing for extended science operations starting August 30th and continuing through December 3rd, 2012.

The GRAIL mission has gathered unprecedented detail about the internal structure and evolution of the moon. This information will increase our knowledge of how Earth and its rocky neighbors in the inner solar system developed into the diverse worlds we see today.

An artist's depiction of the twin spacecraft that comprise NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. During the GRAIL mission's science phase, spacecraft (Ebb and Flow) transmit radio signals precisely defining the distance between them as they orbit the moon in formation. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT)

An artist's depiction of the twin spacecraft that comprise NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. During the GRAIL mission's science phase, spacecraft (Ebb and Flow) transmit radio signals precisely defining the distance between them as they orbit the moon in formation. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT)

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