18 January 2012

NASA GRAIL Twin Satellites Named

As reported earlier this month, NASA's twin GRAIL satellites were inserted into its lunar orbit.

The objectives of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) satellites are to map the lunar gravity and use that information to increase understanding of the Moon's interior and thermal history.

It was also mentioned that the two satellites initially named GRAIL A and GRAIL B will have proper names and that a competition will be held to choose what the name would be. The competition just finished and a class of fourth graders from the Emily Dickinson School in Bozeman, Montana was given the privilege by NASA to name the twin GRAIL satellites.

Video: Names of NASA's Twin Grail Satellites Announced

The new names for GRAIL A and GRAIL B will be EBB and FLOW.

As per NASA's Press Release on the naming of the satellites:
A class of fourth graders from the Emily Dickinson School in Bozeman, Montana has helped NASA choose new names for its twin lunar orbiting spacecraft GRAIL-A and --B. The new names -- Ebb and Flow were announced during a media event at NASA headquarters in Washington. The GRAIL mission will enable scientists to better understand the moon's gravitational field as well as what goes on below its surface. The data gathered is expected to increase our knowledge about how Earth and its rocky neighbors in the inner solar system developed into the diverse worlds we see today.

Up to five MoonKAM cameras aboard each spacecraft will allow students and the public to participate in GRAIL’s mission of lunar exploration. Each GRAIL spacecraft will carry the cameras to document their views from lunar orbits.

The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission is a part of NASA's Discovery Program. The twin spacecraft will be in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will observe and try to answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.


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