Artist's conception of the twin GRAIL spacecraft, called Ebb and Flow. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

New Video Shows the GRAIL MoonKAM’s Final Looks at the Moon

10 Jan , 2013 by

As a fond farewell, here are some of the final images taken by the GRAIL MoonKAM educational cameras on board Ebb and Flow, the twin spacecraft for the mission. This footage was shot just three days prior to when the mission ended with the planned impacts on a rim of a crater near the lunar north pole. At that point in the mission, the spacecraft had lowered their orbit to only about 11 km above the lunar surface. While these images aren’t of the highest of resolution, they provide a great sense of what it would be like to orbit close to the Moon. Additionally, they are an inspiration to school children. With MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) the cameras took more than 115,000 total images of the lunar surface, and imaging targets were proposed by middle school students from across the country and the resulting images returned for them to study.

The two probes were purposely crashed into the Moon because they no longer had enough altitude or fuel to continue science operations.

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January 10, 2013 11:42 PM

Wow! Were these the closest images the orbiters took before their final demise?