Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft maps the moon's gravity field, as depicted in this artist's rendering.
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GRAIL Artist's Rendition

Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft maps the moon's gravity field, as depicted in this artist's rendering. Radio signals traveling between the two spacecraft provide scientists the exact measurements required as well as flow of information not interrupted when the spacecraft are at the lunar farside, not seen from Earth. The result should be the most accurate gravity map of the moon ever made.

The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon, including the size of a possible inner core, and it should provide scientists with a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed. GRAIL is a part of NASA's Discovery Program.

For more information about GRAIL, please visit http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/grail.

Image details

ID#:
PIA14377

Date added:
2011-06-29

Mission:
GRAIL

Rating:



Views:
7,733

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA14377.tif (270 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA14377.jpg (2.64 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech