NASA to live-stream lunar probe crash into the Moon
Michelle Clancy | 17-12-2012
NASA will provide live commentary of the scheduled lunar surface impacts of its twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft on Monday, 17 December via broadcast on NASA Television and streaming on the agency's Website.
The coverage will also be streamed live on Ustream.
The two probes will hit a mountain near the lunar North Pole at approximately 2:28 p.m. Monday, bringing their extended science missions to an end. Commentary will originate from the control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. Coverage will last about 35 minutes and include live interviews with GRAIL team members. GRAIL's final resting place on the moon will be in shadow at the time of impact, so no video documentation of the impacts is expected.
"NASA wanted to rule out any possibility of our twins hitting the surface anywhere near any of the historic lunar exploration sites like the Apollo landing sites or where the Russian Luna probes touched down," said David Lehman, GRAIL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Both spacecraft have been orbiting the moon since Jan. 1, but are being sent purposely into the moon because they do not have enough altitude or fuel to continue science operations. Both spacecraft will hit the surface at 3,760 MPH (1.7 kilometers per second).
Data from the GRAIL twins are allowing scientists to learn about the moon's internal structure and composition in unprecedented detail. The duo's primary mission yielded the highest-resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. Future gravity field models developed from data collected during the extended mission will be of even higher resolution. The map will provide a better understanding of how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved.