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article imageU.S. students hitch a ride on NASA's Grail mission to the moon

By Nancy Houser     Sep 12, 2011 in Science
Tours, multi-media events, and education programs for the youth are nothing new for NASA. Science is relevant to the entire world; NASA’s desire to incorporate it into the everyday lives of children and youth from the United States is commendable.
On September 10, 2011, NASA’s two spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:08 a.m. EDT. The two spacecraft were piggybacking a rocket---the Delta II Heavy---provided by United Launch Alliance. The twin spacecraft that were designed and built by Lockheed Martin were each carrying special lunar cameras that will photograph specific areas of the moon’s surface, then sending them back to educators and middle school students across the United States at the schools' request.
For students who have been interested in the mission from the beginning, the cameras’ images will focus on exploring the interior of the moon and updating the most precise lunar gravity maps, bringing them up-to-date.
The new robot mission will also help scientists study the interior structure and its thermal evolution, according to MSNBC’s article “NASA Launches From Cape Canaveral.” With the first opportunity for the launch window missed because of wind conditions, the GRAIL spacecraft put the two spacecraft into orbit to go around the moon on Saturday morning.
"If there was ever any doubt that Florida's Space Coast would continue to be open for business, that thought was drowned out by the roar of today's GRAIL launch," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "GRAIL and many other exciting upcoming missions make clear that NASA is taking its next big leap into deep space exploration, and the space industry continues to provide the jobs and workers needed to support this critical effort,” reported NASA.
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