NASAs twin Grail spacecraft now in orbit around the moon

Jan 2, 2012
NASAs twin Grail spacecraft now in orbit around the moon

NASA shot a couple satellite spacecraft to the moon a few months ago. The spacecrafts are twins and are called Grail. The purpose of the Grail mission is to map the lunar gravity field. The trek for the Grail crafts took 3.5 months to get them to the moon and covered 2.5 million miles. By comparison, it took the Apollo astronauts only three days to reach the moon.

The Grail spacecraft went into orbit around the moon over last weekend, and the arrival of the dual Grail crafts was timed for 24 hours apart. Grail-A inserted over the South Pole and entered orbit with Grail-B doing the same the next day. The new moon mission is to help learn more about the moon. According to scientists on the project, we know more about Mars than we know about the moon.

One of the big mysteries is why the moon is lopsided with one side that is hillier than the side that faces earth. The Grail crafts will help figure out how the moon formed by measuring the gravity field. The longer time to reach the moon was due to the small rocket used for money-saving measures.

[via AP]

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