NASA Grail Mission
The NASA Grail Mission
NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) Mission
A successful and important step for NASA to return to Earth’s Moon in the near future, with Russia and China setting their sights on the Moon every advantage will be needed in the next space race, The NASA Grail Mission will provide much needed information to sustain life on our closest neighbor in space by mapping the Moon’s gravity field. The twin spacecraft orbit the Moon and detect changes in distance when moving over features of the surface causing differences in gravity strength. Some of the measurements vary by only a few microns.
The site where the NASA Grail Mission impacted the Moons surface has been named for the Late Astronaut Sally K. Ride, Americas first woman in space.
- A lunar science mission in NASA’s Discovery Program which used high-quality gravitational field mapping of the Moon to determine its interior structure.
- The two small spacecraft GRAIL A (Ebb) and GRAIL B (Flow) were launched on 10 September 2011 aboard a single launch vehicle Delta II, GRAIL A separated from the rocket about nine minutes after launch, GRAIL B followed about eight minutes later.
- They arrived at their orbits around the Moon 25 hours apart. The first probe entered orbit on 31 December 2011 and the second followed on 1 January 2012.
- The two spacecraft impacted the Lunar surface on December 17, 2012