[amsat-bb] Students - Name That Spacecraft!

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Mon Oct 3 13:12:35 PDT 2011


WASHINGTON -- NASA has a class assignment for U.S. students: help the 
agency give the twin spacecraft headed to orbit around the moon new 

The naming contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th 
grade at schools in the United States. Entries must be submitted by 
teachers using an online entry form. Length of submissions can range 
from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay. The entry deadline is 
Nov. 11. 

NASA's solar-powered Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory 
(GRAIL)-A and GRAIL-B spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air 
Force Station, Fla. on Sept. 10 to begin a three-and-a-half-month 
journey to the moon. GRAIL will create a gravity map of the moon 
using two spacecraft that orbit at very precise distances. The 
mission will enable scientists to learn about the moon's internal 
structure and composition, and give scientists a better understanding 
of its origin. Accurate knowledge of the moon's gravity also could be 
used to help choose future landing sites. 

"A NASA mission to the moon is one of the reasons why I am a scientist 
today," said GRAIL Principal Investigator Maria Zuber from the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. "My hope is 
that GRAIL motivates young people today towards careers in science, 
math and technology. Getting involved with naming our two GRAIL 
spacecraft could inspire their interest not only in space exploration 
but in the sciences, and that's a good thing." 

Zuber and former astronaut Sally Ride of Sally Ride Science in San 
Diego will chair the final round of judging. Sally Ride Science is 
the lead for GRAIL's MoonKAM program, which enables students to task 
cameras aboard the two GRAIL spacecraft to take close-up views of the 
lunar surface. 

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the 
GRAIL mission. GRAIL is part of the Discovery Program managed at 
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed 
Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. 

For contest rules and more information, visit: 


The public can email questions to: 

grailcontest at jpl.nasa.gov 

For more information about GRAIL, visit: 


For more information about MoonKAM, visit: 



Clint Bradford
clintbradford at mac.com

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