Twin GRAIL spacecraft

GRAIL-A spacecraft achieved Lunar Orbit Insertion on New Year’s Eve.
Artists concept shows twin GRAIL spacecraft orbiting the Moon. The twin GRAIL spacecraft will fly in tandem to map the moon’s gravity field with unprecedented precision to unlock hidden secrets about the moons interior composition, determine if it possesses an inner core, and yield a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed. Credit: NASA

Jan 1 GRAIL-B Update – from Jim Green at JPL Mission Control at 5:44 PM EDT:
“Now we have them both in orbit. What a great feeling!!!!” Cheers at JPL

Twin GRAIL spacecraft orbiting the Moon

Cheers erupted after the first of NASA’s twin $496 Million Moon Mapping probes entered orbit on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) upon completion of the 40 minute main engine burn essential for insertion into lunar orbit. The small GRAIL spacecraft will map the lunar interior with unprecedented precision to deduce the Moon’s hidden interior composition.

“Engines stopped. It’s in a great initial orbit!!!! ”

– NASA’s Jim Green told Universe Today, just moments after verification of a successful engine burn and injection of the GRAIL-A spacecraft into an initial eliptical orbit. Green is the Director of Planetary Science at NASA HQ and was stationed inside Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Ca.

Twin GRAIL inside Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

read more: universetoday by Dr. Ken Kremer.