GRAIL LAUNCH TO MOON NEARS

Aug 25, 2011 (Run time - 41:38)

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission is less than two weeks away from launch as scientists and engineers discuss how its two spacecraft will reveal new data about the surface and interior of the moon, from crust to core. GRAIL is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station the morning of Sept. 8.

The GRAIL mission will place two spacecraft into the same orbit around the Moon. As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity, caused both by visible features such as mountains and craters and by masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, they will move slightly toward and away from each other. An instrument aboard each spacecraft will measure the changes in their relative velocity very precisely, and scientists will translate this information into a high-resolution map of the Moon’s gravitational field.
This gravity-measuring technique is essentially the same as that of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE), which has been mapping Earth’s gravity since 2002.
Learn more about GRAIL mission.

The GRAIL mission will place two spacecraft into the same orbit around the Moon. As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity, caused both by visible features such as mountains and craters and by masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, they will move slightly toward and away from each other. An instrument aboard each spacecraft will measure the changes in their relative velocity very precisely, and scientists will translate this information into a high-resolution map of the Moon’s gravitational field.

This gravity-measuring technique is essentially the same as that of theĀ Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE), which has been mapping Earth’s gravity since 2002.

Learn more about GRAIL mission.