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31 December 2011

Praise: NASA opens 2012 with holy GRAIL

Okay, so holy may not be quite so accurate.
Artist's concept of the GRAIL mission. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The NASA GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) mission is two satellites that are almost in place to explore the interior of the Moon.
PASADENA, Calif. – NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-A spacecraft is within 24 hours of its insertion burn that will place it into lunar orbit. At the time the spacecraft crossed the milestone at 1:21 p.m. PST today (4:21 p.m. EST), the spacecraft was 30,758 miles (49,500 kilometers) from the moon.
Launched aboard the same rocket on Sept. 10, 2011, GRAIL-A's mirror twin, GRAIL-B, is also closing the gap between itself and the moon. GRAIL-B is scheduled to perform its lunar orbit insertion burn on New Year's Day (Jan. 1) at 2:05 p.m. PST (5:05 p.m. EST).
Science is a wonderful way to welcome a new year.  Stars and Stripes has more about the launch and what the scientists at NASA hope to learn.

Wishing everyone a year of enjoyable learning, with movement toward health and equality.

Happy 2012