NASA’s twin lunar orbiters, GRAIL-A and GAIL-B (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) have successfully entered lunar orbit.
The two probes which are designed to precisely map the moon’s gravity field, entered orbit on New Years Eve and New Years Day, with GRAIL-A arriving just ahead of her sister probe.
The twin orbiters were launched on September the 10th 2011, and are expected to commence an 82 day primary science phase in March 2012. The data from the orbiters should allow scientists to gain a far deeper understanding of the moon’s internal structure by detecting tiny variations in the strength of the moon’s gravity indicating regions of higher and lower density.
The mission is predicted to increase the accuracy of our lunar gravity field maps by somewhere between 100 and 1000 times, exposing features that have currently escaped detection.
The mission is part of NASA’s Discovery program which also includes, Dawn, MESSENGER and Kepler.
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