A first look from GRAIL, showing the lunar far side! A camera aboard ‘Ebb’ — one of NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft has returned its first unique view of the far side of the Moon. The camera is the MoonKAM, which is part of a special program for students to study the Moon.
“The quality of the video is excellent and should energize our MoonKAM students as they prepare to explore the Moon,” said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator.
In the video, the north pole of the Moon is visible at the top of the screen as the spacecraft flies toward the lunar south pole. One of the first prominent geological features seen on the lower third of the Moon is the Mare Orientale, a 900-kilometer-wide (560-mile) impact basin that straddles both the Moon’s near and far side.
GRAIL consists of two identical spacecraft, recently named Ebb and Flow, and each are equipped with a MoonKam. The images were taken as part of a test of Ebb’s MoonKam on Jan. 19. The GRAIL project plans to test the MoonKAM aboard Flow soon.
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Information on participating in the MoonKAM project.