Twin Probes To Circle Moon To Study Gravity Field
December 27, 2011 by staff
Twin Probes To Circle Moon To Study Gravity Field, Two spacecrafts are set to enter orbit around Earth’s moon over the New Year’s weekend, in the latest lunar mission to measure the uneven gravity field and determine what lies beneath the moon’ core. The near-identical Grail spacecraft, short for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, which skyrocketed from the Florida coast in September, have been independently traveling to their destination and will arrive 24 hours apart.
On New Year’s Eve, one of the Grail probes will fire its engine to slow down so that it could be captured into orbit. This move will be repeated by the other the following day.
The chances of the probes overshooting are slim since their trajectories have been precise, engineers said. Getting struck by a cosmic ray may prevent the completion of the engine burn and they won’t get boosted into the right orbit.
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