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The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will create the most accurate gravitational map of the Moon to date, improving our knowledge of near-side gravity by 100 times and of far-side gravity by 1000 times. The high-resolution gravitational field, especially when combined with a comparable-resolution topographical field, will enable scientists to deduce the Moon's interior structure and composition, and to gain insights into its thermal evolution--that is, the history of the Moon's heating and cooling, which opens the door to understanding its origin and development. Accurate knowledge of the gravity will also be an invaluable navigational aid to future lunar spacecraft. Ultimately, the information contributed by the GRAIL mission will increase our knowledge of how Earth and its rocky neighbors in the inner solar system developed into the diverse worlds we see today. Scheduled to launch in late 2011, GRAIL is a mission in NASA's Discovery Program of solar system investigations. GRAIL will begin its work at the Moon in 2012. Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., is the mission Principal Investigator. In the course of the mission, GRAIL will conduct two important firsts. This will be the first time any space agency has attempted the complex set of maneuvers required to place two robotic spacecraft into the same precise orbit around a planetary body other than Earth so that they can fly in formation. And it will also provide a unique opportunity for a NASA planetary mission to carry MoonKam--an imager whose photographic targets will be chosen by middle school students under the auspices of Sally Ride Science.
The Delta II Heavy has passed through the areas of maximum dynamic pressure. First six boosters burned out and separated. The three other boosters are burning.
The Delta II and GRAIL are going Mach 15, more than 11,000 mph.
Originally posted by Dalke07
It was, perfect quick and beautiful takeoff ..
Bravo NASA and thanks for extra live stream ..
edit on 10-9-2011 by Dalke07 because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by new_here
I missed it!!! But at the ustream link provided in the OP has a chat box where NASA was conversing with people about why it will take it 3 months to reach the moon. Something about taking the scenic route and saving fuel.
And no, he didn't mean 3 months to get the two into synchronized orbit, either. He meant get to the moon. Weird.
Originally posted by jazzguy
any idea how powerful that camera is?
wouldnt mind seeing more than a pixel of the moon landing sites