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LRO Images GRAIL impact craters
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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter has managed to capture the final resting places of a pair of satellites purposely impacted into the Moon after completing their original mission.

Two probes were launched in September 2011 – NASAs GRAIL ( Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) mission, designed to study the Moon and get some idea of its interior geological structure.

The probes, which were intentionally crashed into the Moon on December 17, spent much of 2012 mapping the variations in the Moon’s gravity field. The probes accomplished this by following similar orbits that kept them between 175 to 225km (108 to 140 miles) apart. The two probes beamed microwaves between one another, which allowed them to constantly keep tabs on exactly how far apart they were from one another. The probes also tracked on their position relative to Earth, which allowed their locations to be known with very high accuracy.

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Before and after shots of the GRAIL impact sites. Credit: JPL/NASA

Now its been confirmed that the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter has photographed the impact site of the two probes, releasing the images above of the impact area.

We’ve previously covered some of the sterling discoveries that GRAIL revealed about the Moon here by our very own Justin Cowart.

Image: JPL/NASA

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About The Author
AstroAggregator
My name's Chris Pounds. I started Astronomy Aggregator in 2012 as a hobby site for my interests in spaceflight and astronomy. I'm finishing up an MSc. in Aerospace Engineering. My undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering with a final year dissertation focussed on performance characteristics of aerospike rocket nozzles.

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