Space Robotics

NASA GRAIL Probes Enter Lunar Orbit

Posted 31 Dec 2011 at 17:12 UTC by steve Share This

What better way to close out 2011 than with a story of two space robots reaching their destination after a 112 day voyage? A NASA news release, the GRAIL (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) space probes, a pair of space bots designed to orbit the moon and measure gravity changes that will tell researchers more about the nature of moon's surface and evolution. If all goes well with the lunar orbit insertion, the probes will set up shop in a circular polar orbit and should be ready to start delivery science data by March 2012. You can track news about the GRAIL space mission now and eventually the science news on the GRAIL project page. Both probes also carry MoonKAMs, cameras that were added just to provide cool photos for the public. Students will be able to request photos from the MoonKAMs. The GRAIL project is based on the same science used in the GRACE project that has been mapping the Earth since 2002. Click through the "read more" link for video and links to more technical info on these space-faring robots.

Here's a NASA Video of the GRAIL launch aboard the Delta II rocket:

And here's a NASA Video with more details on the mission itself:

Want more info on the GRAIL mission? NASA provides a GRAIL project fact sheet (PFD format), a GRAIL/Delta II launch summary (PDF format), and a Launch press kit (PFD format). If you'd prefer more social media aware way to keep up with GRAIL probes and the MoonKAMs, there's a MoonKAM Facebook page and MoonKAM Twitter feed.

See more of the latest robot news!

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