PASADENA, Calif. — On September 8 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA will launch two satellites that will go to the Moon to study more about our lunar neighbor’s deepest insides. The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL mission, consists of two radio sateliites that will both orbit the Moon and gather data for scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasedena, California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The two satellites, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B, will launch from a Delta II rocket.
Even though many years have past since the Apollo program, there is more to the Moon that we are finding about. “We don’t know if it has a solid core,” said JPL Deputy Project Sceintist Sami Asmar. The data recieved would help scientist learn about the gravity field from the Moon’s surface to its core.
“GRAIL will unlock lunar mysteries and help us understand how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets evolved as well,” said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in a NASA release. Scientists’ plan for the mission is to have the two satellites have a lunar orbit that will take 3.5 months and cover approximately 2.6 million miles of lunar surface.
The two GRAIL sateliites were built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver. Launch management for the mission is performed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. To find out more information about NASA’s GRAIL mission go to: http://www.nasa.gov .