Saturday, December 31, 2011

First of NASA's GRAIL Spacecraft Enters Moon Orbit

Artist concept of GRAIL mission Artist concept of GRAIL mission. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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December 31, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. - The first of two NASA spacecraft to study the moon in unprecedented detail has entered lunar orbit.
NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-A spacecraft successfully completed its planned main engine burn at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST) today. As of 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST), GRAIL-A is in an orbit of 56 miles by 5,197 miles (90 kilometers by 8,363 kilometers) around the moon that takes approximately 11.5 hours to complete.
"My resolution for the new year is to unlock lunar mysteries and understand how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets evolved," said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "Now, with GRAIL-A successfully placed in orbit around the moon, we are one step closer to achieving that goal."



Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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