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Resource: Classroom on the Moon

GRAIL

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will launch twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the Moon to measure its gravity in unprecedented detail and create a gravitational map. GRAIL MoonKAM will allow classrooms to request pictures of the lunar surface from cameras on the twin satellites.

The mission will answer key questions about the Moon’s internal structure and give scientists a better understanding of how our solar system formed. The twin satellites launched Sept. 9. The GRAIL-A orbiter will arrive at the moon on Dec. 31, 2011, and the new year is ushered in with the GRAIL-B orbiter arriving on Jan. 1, 2012.

The 82-day Science Phase is divided into three 27.3-day mapping cycles. During the Science Phase, the moon will rotate three times underneath the GRAIL orbit.

There are several educational resources available, including classroom activities. Educators wanting to request images must register (registration is free).

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