[amsat-bb] Student-selected GRAIL Images

Clint Bradford clintbrad4d at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 22 12:45:51 PDT 2012

March 22, 2012

RELEASE: 12-093


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 
March 20. 

"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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