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December 3 – 9, 2012 / Vol 31, No 49 / Hawai`i Island, USA

30 Nov 2012, 21:47 UTC
December 3 – 9, 2012 / Vol 31, No 49 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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GRAIL Successfully Maps and May Impact Lunar Surface
Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory Lunar orbiting spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, are approaching the end of their extended science operations mission, pushed back from December 3 to Dec 17. GRAIL operated at unprecedented altitudes of about 23 km above the Moon. In some cases they were only 8 km above the highest surfaces and soon they may get a lot closer. The US$496M GRAIL mission plan includes a 5-day decommissioning period and it is speculated that approximately 40 days later GRAIL will impact the Lunar surface. The specific crash site for the 200-kg near-twin spacecrafts has not yet been designated. On Dec 6 and 7, Dr. Sami Asmar (L) GRAIL Deputy Project Scientist of JPL will speak about the project at The von Kármán Lecture Series ‘GRAIL Unwraps the Moon’ in Pasadena, California, USA. Data analysis from the GRAIL primary mission is expected to continue until at least August 2013, advancing our knowledge about the interior, gravity field and evolution of the Moon and other planets in the Solar System. As part of the NASA Discovery Program in which lower-cost, highly-focused American scientific space exploration missions are the focus, GRAIL data will ...

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