Moon Flight

animation of moon images from GRAIL
A series of frames from one of the twin GRAIL orbiters, taken earlier this month, showing the lunar surface. These shots were chosen by middle school students as part of the MoonKAM project. Credit: NASA/JPL/Sally Ride Science/Bill Dunford

The twin GRAIL probes are circling low over the moon, studying its internal structure by measuring slight distortions in its gravitational field.

The spacecraft also carry cameras as part of the MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) project, an education program led by Sally Ride Science, the science education company founded by Dr. Sally Ride. Students from around the world choose places on the moon for the probes to image. Students then use the images to study lunar features while also learning about potential future landing sites.

Maria Zuber, GRAIL’s lead scientist, tells more about the mission and about the kids taking part in MoonKAM (this is the only thing I can imagine that would make me want to go back to middle school):

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