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NASA's GRAIL Mission Solves Mystery of Moon's Surface Gravity

NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission has uncovered the origin of massive invisible regions that make the moon's gravity uneven, a phenomenon that affects the operations of lunar-orbiting spacecraft.
Because of GRAIL's findings, spacecraft on missions to other celestial bodies can navigate with greater precision in the future.
GRAIL's twin spacecraft studied the internal structure and composition of the moon in unprecedented detail for nine months. They pinpointed the locations of large, dense regions called mass concentrations, or mascons, which are characterized by strong gravitational pull. Mascons lurk beneath the lunar surface and cannot be seen by normal optical cameras.

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Sees GRAIL's Explosive Farewell

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Many spacecraft just fade away, drifting silently through space after their mission is over, but not GRAIL. NASA's twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) spacecraft went out in a blaze of glory on Dec. 17, 2012, when they were intentionally crashed into a mountain near the moon's north pole.
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GRAIL-B arrived at the Moon on New Year's Day 2012

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GRAIL-A arrived at the Moon on New Year's Eve 2011

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NASA's latest Moon mission ends with two bangs

If Ebb and Flow do not sound like the sorts of names that scientists at NASA would give to their space probes, that is because they are not. The two probes started off as "GRAIL A" and "GRAIL B", but were renamed by a class of schoolchildren in Bozeman, Montana, who thus won a competition run by America's space agency to give the craft more resonant monikers than the original.
Sadly, Ebb and Flow are no more. Ebb expired at 22:28:51 Greenwich Mean Time on December 17th and Flow at 22:29:21.

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NASA Grail Twins Make Impact with Moon

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The lunar-orbiting twins of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission made impact on an unnamed mountain on the moon Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. The spacecraft were purposely sent into the moon because after successful prime and extended science missions, their low orbit and low fuel levels preclude further scientific operations. The mission has helped scientists learn about the moon's internal structure and composition in unprecedented detail.



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NASA's GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday in honour of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America's first woman in space and a member of the probes' mission team.
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NASA GRAIL Twins Complete Their Moon Impact

Update: Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have received confirmation that the twin GRAIL spacecraft have, as planned, completed their impact into the moon.

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Grail gravity twins set for Moon impact

Nasa's Ebb and Flow gravity mapping satellites are being commanded to crash into the surface of the Moon later.
The satellites - together known as Grail (Gravity Recovery and Internal Laboratory) - are timed to hit the flank of the lunar-nearside mountain at about 22:28 GMT.
The peak, located at 75 degrees North latitude near a crater named Goldschmidt, will be in darkness at the time.

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GRAIL will impact the Moon on December 17

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