By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Defense & Aerospace Week -- Researchers detail new data in Aerospace and Defense. According to news reporting from Pasadena, California, by VerticalNews journalists, research stated, "The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) is a spacecraft-to-spacecraft tracking mission that was developed to map the structure of the lunar interior by producing a detailed map of the gravity field. The resulting model of the interior will be used to address outstanding questions regarding the Moon's thermal evolution, and will be applicable more generally to the evolution of all terrestrial planets."
The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the California Institute of Technology, "Each GRAIL orbiter contains a Lunar Gravity Ranging System instrument that conducts dual-one-way ranging measurements to measure precisely the relative motion between them, which in turn are used to develop the lunar gravity field map. Each orbiter also carries an Education/Public Outreach payload, Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle-School Students (MoonKAM), in which middle school students target images of the Moon for subsequent classroom analysis. Subsequent to a successful launch on September 10, 2011, the twin GRAIL orbiters embarked on independent trajectories on a 3.5-month-long cruise to the Moon via the EL-1 Lagrange point. The spacecraft were inserted into polar orbits on December 31, 2011 and January 1, 2012. After a succession of 19 maneuvers the two orbiters settled into precision formation to begin science operations in March 1, 2012 with an average altitude of 55 km. The Primary Mission, which consisted of three 27.3-day mapping cycles, was successfully completed in June 2012. The extended mission will permit a second three-month mapping phase at an average altitude of 23 km."
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "This paper provides an overview of the mission: science objectives and measurements, spacecraft and instruments, mission development and design, and data flow and data products."
For more information on this research see: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL): Mapping the Lunar Interior from Crust to Core. Space Science Reviews, 2013;178(1):3-24. Space Science Reviews can be contacted at: Springer, Van Godewijckstraat 30, 3311 Gz Dordrecht, Netherlands. (Springer - www.springer.com; Space Science Reviews - www.springerlink.com/content/0038-6308/)
Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting M.T. Zuber, California Institute of Technology, Jet Prop Lab, Pasadena, CA 91109, United States. Additional authors for this research include D.E. Smith, D.H. Lehman, T.L. Hoffman, S.W. Asmar and M.M. Watkins.
Keywords for this news article include: Pasadena, California, Spacecraft, United States, Aerospace and Defense, North and Central America
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