GRAIL: NASA's Mission to Study the Gravity of the Moon

Nola Taylor Redd | Space.com
Friday, January 25, 2019

NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission launched in 2011, sending two small satellites, named Ebb and Flow, into orbit around the moon in order to observe it for about a year. The spacecraft were there to "create the highest-resolution gravity-field map ever made of any celestial body. The results revealed a wealth of never-before-seen lunar features in exquisite detail," Nola Taylor Redd wrote for Space.com. 

"Trying to understand how the moon formed, and how it evolved over its history, is one of the things we're trying to address with the GRAIL mission," Maria Zuber, principal investigator for GRAIL and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a statement before the mission launch. "But also, [we're] trying to understand how the moon is an example of how terrestrial planets in general have formed."

Read the full story about the importance of the mission and what the reseachers learned at Space.com. 

Story Image: Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)