Of the probes' success so far, Maria Zuber, mission chief, said, "Literally and figuratively, I'm over the moon." That is certainly a cute description of her feelings about the $496 million mission named the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (Grail).
Zuber and the other scientists working on the mission hope to find out why the side of the moon that faces Earth is flatter than the other side. These two NASA probes should be able to shed some light on the issue over the next three months while they orbit the satellite recording details about the celestial body's gravitational field. Ultimately, scientists hope the data gained will prove or disprove the theory that Earth originally had two moons that slammed into each other.
Grail A and Grail B arrived on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day respectively, and now that they are in position, they have been renamed "Ebb and Flow," which is also super cute, and it came from a fourth grade class in Montana. How exciting it must be for these students to hear more about the mission that had a hand in naming.
It seems the NASA probes are important both for learning more about the moon's gravity, as well as for involving students in space exploration. How exciting! Next week, middle school students will actually be able to use one of the probe's cameras to photograph their favorite lunar landmark. Wow! Can you even imagine doing that while you were in school? What a way to expand ideas and imaginations!
Check out the video below to see Grail's first video transmission back to Earth.
Like this space article? See more by Kate James at Gather.com