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NASA's Twin GRAIL Probes About to Crash Into Moon

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 10-Dec-2012
Updated: 10-Dec-2012 09:49 PM

Twin NASA probes called Ebb and Flow will crash into the Moon next week after completing their Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.

The two probes entered lunar orbit over New Year's Eve 2011 and New Year's Day 2012 and have been providing detailed data on the structure of the Moon's interior ever since.   MIT's Maria Zuber is principal investigator for the probes, part of NASA's Discovery series of moderate cost space missions.   They were designed for 90 days of operations once in lunar orbit, which was extended for another 90 days, but the amount of fuel onboard now is running out.  NASA therefore will command them to impact the lunar surface at about 2:28 pm PT (5:28 pm ET) on December 17.

NASA will hold a media teleconference on December 13 at 10:30 am PT (1:30 pm ET) to discuss the mission. The media teleconference will be streamed live at NASA's news audio channel.

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