December 18, 2012

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Riding Into the Hills

Screenshot off of NASA TV

This morning (my time it was 11:28am) the GRAIL mission came to an end, rather abruptly too, with the impact into the hills near Philolaus. I watched it live on NASA television and recorded the last minute with my iPad2 camera. The image above is just after impact of Ebb, with the lower trace showing Flow following it to the same hill. The trace of Ebb was expanded in scale at the last moment, so shows the hill not as steep. After the mission ended, Maria Zuber announced that the impact point would be fittingly named in honor of the first American woman astronaut, Dr. Sally Ride. A very nice touch. The first GRAIL results have been announced and covered in recent LPOD's, and we all look forward to what other findings are made from the great dataset returned. So just as we celebrate 40 years from Apollo 17, we now have good data for navigation for a return. Reading a recent commission report on NASA, perhaps they should reinstate the goal of a lunar landing, to build on the great work from GRAIL and LRO? Sure would be nice and the Moon is a place to go to that everyone can relate to.

Maurice Collins

Technical Details
NASA TV screenshot from iPad filming a computer monitor.

Related Links
NASA's Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus, 2012, National Academies Press.

GRAIL Spacecraft weight data:

Rükl plate 4
21st Century Atlas chart 19.

Yesterday's LPOD: Familiar Foursome

Tomorrow's LPOD: More Moore


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