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Moon NASA Space Science

Twin GRAIL Probes To Map Lunar Gravity Field 18

smitty777 writes "The two washing machine sized satellites from the GRAIL program (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) launched in September are set to enter lunar orbit this weekend. As can be seen from this nifty infographic, the probes will monitor the gravitational field from orbit via the precise distance measurements of microwaves passing between the two satellites. From the article: 'The twin spacecrafts are named Grail-A and Grail-B. Grail-A will enter the moon's orbit on New Year's Eve, Grail-B will follow on New Year's Day. "The purpose of the GRAIL mission is to obtain gravity data on the Moon. And with that data, the scientists are able to determine the structure of the lunar interior, from crust to core," said David Lehman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.' This is similar to the earlier GRACE project, which not only helped map out the gravity field of the Earth, but also helped map drought conditions in the U.S."
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Twin GRAIL Probes To Map Lunar Gravity Field

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  • wait, i think we kind of already know that :p... just stick to gravity field I guess haha :p

  • Cool (Score:4, Informative)

    by Metabolife (961249) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:11PM (#38505566)

    These probes work by communicating with one another and measuring the slight changes in speed they experience as they orbit together. This change in speed correlates to a slow-down due to different gravitational pulls, hence lunar densities.

  • September? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Did these probes take a really bad detour or something? If I read it right, they were launched in September, and are just getting into orbit around the moon at the end of this month. The Apollo missions made the same trip in a couple days. Why the incredibly long delay?

  • Beware the Holy Hand Grenade! [youtu.be]

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.