[amsat-bb] Student-selected GRAIL Images
clintbrad4d at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 22 12:45:51 PDT 2012
March 22, 2012
NASA'S GRAIL MOONKAM RETURNS FIRST STUDENT-SELECTED LUNAR IMAGES
WASHINGTON -- One of two NASA spacecraft orbiting the moon has beamed
back the first student-requested pictures of the lunar surface from
its onboard camera. Fourth grade students from the Emily Dickinson
Elementary School in Bozeman, Mont., received the honor of making the
first image selections by winning a nationwide competition to rename
the two spacecraft.
The image was taken by the MoonKam, or Moon Knowledge Acquired by
Middle school students. Previously named Gravity Recovery And
Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) A and B, the twin spacecraft are now
called Ebb and Flow. Both washing-machine-sized orbiters carry a
small MoonKAM camera. Over 60 student-requested images were taken
aboard the Ebb spacecraft from March 15-17 and downlinked to Earth on
"MoonKAM is based on the premise that if your average picture is worth
a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a
classroom full of engineering and science degrees," said Maria Zuber,
GRAIL mission principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. "Through MoonKAM, we have an
opportunity to reach out to the next generation of scientists and
engineers. It is great to see things off to such a positive start."
GRAIL is NASA's first planetary mission to carry instruments fully
dedicated to education and public outreach. Students will select
target areas on the lunar surface and request images to study from
the GRAIL MoonKAM Mission Operations Center in San Diego.
The MoonKAM program is led by Sally Ride, America's first woman in
space, and her team at Sally Ride Science in collaboration with
undergraduate students at the University of California in San Diego.
More than 2,700 schools spanning 52 countries are using the MoonKAM
"What might seem like just a cool activity for these kids may very
well have a profound impact on their futures," Ride said. "The
students really are excited about MoonKAM, and that translates into
an excitement about science and engineering."
Launched in September 2011, Ebb and Flow will answer longstanding
questions about the moon and give scientists a better understanding
of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the
GRAIL mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
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.
To view the student-requested images, visit:
For more information about MoonKAM, visit:
For more information about GRAIL, visit:
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