NASA Captures Video Images Of The “Dark Side Of The Moon.”
During its flight toward the lunar South Pole the NASA spacecraft has captured amazing images of the far side of the Moon.
The Twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft (launched in September 2011) is not the first craft to have “passed by” this region of space but it is the first to have ever captured any video images and the results are stunning. The craft, one of two identical models named Ebb and Flow, captured the images using its “MoonKam” (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) and the footage features the Moon`s north pole a 560-mile-wide Mare Orientale impact basin and the 93-mile-wide Drygalski crater.
The GRAIL missions objective is to eventually give scientists a better understanding of exactly how the Earth and other rocky planetary bodies formed in the Solar System and the two crafts are, at present, periodically performing trajectory correction manoeuvres that, over time, will lower their orbits to near-circular ones with an altitude of about 34 miles (55 kilometres). The craft named “Flo” does not currently have a “MoonKam” installed but NASA does plan to add this capability to it in the future.
The GRAIL project is currently being led by Sally Ride (The first American woman in space) who quotes:
“We have had great response from schools around the country, more than 2,500 signed up to participate so far, in mid-March the first pictures of the moon will be taken by students using MoonKAM. I expect this will excite many students about possible careers in science and engineering.”