[amsat-bb] Ebb and Flow

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Wed Jan 18 15:17:26 PST 2012

NSASA has a marvelous public relations / marketing team in place. From yesterday's media alerts ...


WASHINGTON -- Twin NASA spacecraft that achieved orbit around the moon 
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day have new names thanks to elementary 
students in Bozeman, Montana. Their winning entry, "Ebb and Flow," 
was selected as part of a nation-wide school contest that began in 
October 2011. 

The names were submitted by fourth graders from the Emily Dickinson 
Elementary School. Nearly 900 classrooms with more than 11,000 
students from 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, 
participated in the contest. Previously named Gravity Recovery And 
Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL A and B, the washing machine-sized 
spacecraft begin science operations in March. 

"The 28 students of Nina DiMauro's class at the Emily Dickinson 
Elementary School have really hit the nail on the head," said Maria 
Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology. "We were really impressed that the students drew their 
inspiration by researching GRAIL and its goal of measuring gravity. 
Ebb and Flow truly capture the spirit and excitement of our mission."

Zuber and Sally Ride, America's first woman in space and CEO of Sally 
Ride Science in San Diego, selected the names following the contest, 
which attracted 890 proposals via the Internet and mail. The contest 
invited ideas from students ages 5 to 18 enrolled in U.S. schools. 
Although everything from spelling and grammar to creativity were 
considered, Zuber and Ride primarily took into account the quality of 
submitted essays. 

"With submissions from all over the United States and even some from 
abroad, there were a lot of great entries to review," Ride said. 
"This contest generated a great deal of excitement in classrooms 
across America, and along with it an opportunity to use that 
excitement to teach science."

GRAIL is NASA's first planetary mission carrying instruments fully 
dedicated to education and public outreach. Each spacecraft carries a 
small camera called GRAIL MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle 
school students). Thousands of students in grades five through eight 
will select target areas on the lunar surface and send requests for 
study to the GRAIL MoonKAM Mission Operations Center in San Diego. 

The winning prize for the Dickinson students is to choose the first 
camera images. Dickinson is one of nearly 2,000 schools registered 
for the MoonKAM program, which is led by Ride and her team at Sally 
Ride Science in collaboration with undergraduate students at the 
University of California in San Diego. 

"These spacecraft represent not only great science but great 
inspiration for our future," said Jim Green, director of NASA's 
Planetary Science Division in Washington. "As they study our lunar 
neighbor, Ebb and Flow will undergo nearly the same motion as the 
tides we feel here on Earth."

Launched in September 2011, Ebb and Flow will be placed in a 
near-polar, near-circular orbit with an altitude of about 34 miles 
(55 kilometers). During their science mission, the duo 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. 
The GRAIL mission 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 read the winning submission visit: 


Information about MoonKAM is available online at: 


For more information about GRAIL visit: 





Clint Bradford
clintbradford at mac.com

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