On 1 February NASA released the first video from GRAIL, its newest moon mission. As part of the mission twin spacecraft Ebb and Flow are orbiting the moon, and Ebb has captured a video of the moon’s far side. Awesome!
The Gravity Recover and Interior Laboratory or GRAIL for short consists of two robotic probes – GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B (named Ebb and Flow by school children in January 2012). The probes are orbiting the moon in tandem, using variations in the radio signals between them to help study the moon’s gravity with the overall goal of the mission understanding more about the formation of our solar system.
GRAIL is the first robotic planetary mission to carry equipment for the sole purpose of education. One piece of equipment that both probes carry is a MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students), which will allow students (in the U.S) to study specific parts of the moon helping inspire them to consider careers in science and engineering.
Thumbs up to NASA on this one.
Find out more about GRAIL here.