Monday, January 2, 2012

GRAIL A & B In Lunar Orbit!

Hey Space Placers!

Happy New Year! I welcomed in the New Year in Atlanta while seeing my beloved University of Virginia Cavaliers fall to the Auburn Tigers in the 2011 Chick Fill A Bowl. I was without a computer so we were out of touch.

GRAIL A & B are safely in lunar orbit. As reported by NASA, "GRAIL-B achieved lunar orbit at 2:43 p.m. PST (5:43 p.m. EST) January 1st, while GRAIL-A successfully completed its burn December 31st at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST). The insertion maneuvers placed the spacecraft into a near- polar, elliptical orbit with an orbital period of approximately 11.5 hours. Over the coming weeks, the GRAIL team will execute a series of burns with each spacecraft to reduce their orbital period to just under two hours. At the start of the science phase in March 2012, the two GRAILs will be in a near-polar, near-circular orbit with an altitude of about 34 miles (55 kilometers)."

This latest lunar mission will give us the most detailed data of the Moon's interior by mapping the Moon's gravitational field. The mapping will be accomplished by monitoring the slightest deviations in radio signals that will be constantly transmitting between the two spacecraft. Analyzing these variations in conjunction with the spacecrafts' location will lead to the determination of the composition and structure of the lunar interior. When all of the data from previous and current lunar missions is added we will have a very good data set for our Moon. Right now we know more about Mars than we do our own Moon.

Read More About It: and .

I wish everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. Together we will continue our exploration of the Universe in 2012.

Sky Guy in VA

No comments:

Post a Comment