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[b]Sally Ride Science to Lead Education Efforts for Grail Mission around the Moon[/b]
Sally Ride Science is part of a new NASA mission that will peer deep inside the moon to reveal its anatomy and history — and share its findings with students. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or Grail, mission is a part of NASA's Discovery Program. Sally Ride Science, founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, will lead the mission's education efforts.
Grail will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. Scientists will use the information from the two satellites to study the moon from crust to core to reveal its subsurface structures and, indirectly, its thermal history. The mission will answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.
Cameras aboard each spacecraft will be dedicated to education — allowing students to photograph the moon from lunar orbit.
According to Ride, Grail will leverage the EarthKAM control center at the University of California, San Diego, where undergraduates will develop the software and procedures to run cameras on the Grail spacecraft. The cameras will be used by middle school students to study the moon from their classrooms.
In addition, as part of the education program, Sally Ride Science will develop workshops about the moon to feature at its science festivals for fifth through eighth grade students. Sally Ride Science will also develop Educator Institutes to train teachers in science activities related to the moon and gravity.
On the Grail mission, Ride will be part of a team of expert scientists and engineers led by Dr. Maria Zuber, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will serve as Grail's principal investigator. The Grail proposal was selected from 24 submissions in response to a 2006 Announcement of Opportunity for NASA's Discovery Program. The Grail mission will cost $375 million and is scheduled to launch in 2011.
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