Twin NASA probes to crash into the Moon
Washington: Twin NASA spacecraft that have allowed scientists to learn more about the internal structure and composition of the Moon will end their gravity-mapping mission in spectacular way next week, crashing on the lunar surface.
Ebb and Flow, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission probes, are being prepared for their controlled descent and impact on a mountain near the Moon’s north pole at about 2:28 p.m. PST (5:28 p.m. EST, 22:28 UTC) Monday, Dec. 17.
They are being sent purposely into the lunar surface because their low orbit and low fuel levels preclude further scientific operations.
The duo’s successful prime and extended science missions generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The map will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved.
“It is going to be difficult to say goodbye,” said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
“Our little robotic twins have been exemplary members of the GRAIL family, and planetary science has advanced in a major way because of their contributions,” she asserted.
The mountain where the two spacecraft will make contact is located near a crater named Goldschmidt. Both spacecraft have been flying in formation around the Moon since Jan. 1, 2012.
The first probe to reach the Moon, Ebb, also will be the first to go down, at 2:28:40 p.m. Flow will follow Ebb about 20 seconds later.
Both spacecraft will hit the surface at 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). No imagery of the impact is expected because the region will be in shadow at the time.
Ebb and Flow will conduct one final experiment before their mission ends. They will fire their main engines until their propellant tanks are empty to determine precisely the amount of fuel remaining in their tanks. This will help NASA engineers validate fuel consumption computer models to improve predictions of fuel needs for future missions.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Delhi's 2015 CBSE Class 12 topper M Gayatri talks to Zee Media
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- No respite from heat for next three days: IMD
- DNA: Sikh man in New Zealand removed his turban to help injured kid
- One year of Modi govt: PM addresses mega rally in Mathura
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Growing medical negligence in Delhi's AIIMS
- DNA: AIIMS doctor removes both kidneys of minor, claims she had only one
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- One year of Modi govt: PM Modi addresses mega rally in Mathura Part-II
- Public rally on 100 days of AAP govt: As it happened
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- China doesn't recognise 'illegal' McMahon Line: Beijing responds to NSA Ajit Doval
- CBSE 10th Results 2015 to be declared on May 27
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- Is there life after death?
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- UBSE Results 2015 (ubse.uk.gov.in): Uttarakhand 12th Result 2015 to be announced today at 11 AM
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE Class X Board Results 2015 to declared tomorrow