NASA invites students to name moon-bound spacecraft

Oct 04, 2011

NASA has a class assignment for U.S. students: help the agency give the twin spacecraft headed to orbit around the moon new names.

The naming contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade at schools in the United States. Entries must be submitted by teachers using an online entry form. Length of submissions can range from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay. The entry deadline is Nov. 11.

NASA's solar-powered Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-A and GRAIL-B spacecraft lifted off from , Fla. on Sept. 10 to begin a three-and-a-half-month journey to the moon. GRAIL will create a gravity map of the moon using two spacecraft that orbit at very precise distances. The mission will enable scientists to learn about the moon's internal structure and composition, and give scientists a better understanding of its origin. Accurate knowledge of the moon's gravity also could be used to help choose future landing sites.

"A to the moon is one of the reasons why I am a scientist today," said GRAIL Principal Investigator Maria Zuber from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. "My hope is that GRAIL motivates young people today towards careers in science, math and technology. Getting involved with naming our two GRAIL spacecraft could inspire their interest not only in space exploration but in the sciences, and that's a good thing."

Zuber and former astronaut Sally Ride of Sally Ride Science in San Diego will chair the final round of judging. Sally Ride Science is the lead for GRAIL's MoonKAM program, which enables students to task cameras aboard the two GRAIL spacecraft to take close-up views of the lunar surface.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission. GRAIL is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. in Denver built the .

For contest rules and more information, visit: grail.nasa.gov/contest

Explore further: Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

GRAIL launch less than one month away

Aug 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's twin lunar probes – GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B - completed their final inspections and were weighed one final time at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla., on Tuesday. ...

NASA's twin craft arrive in Florida for moon mission

May 24, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's twin lunar probes have arrived in Florida to begin final preparations for a launch in late summer. The two Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory spacecraft (Grail) were shipped from ...

To the moon: GRAIL lunar mission scheduled to launch

Sep 08, 2011

Today’s expected launch of NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) twin spacecraft, a carefully choreographed mission to precisely map the moon’s gravitational field, could help ...

Recommended for you

Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan. The feature covers an area of about 100 square miles (260 square ...

MOM eyes the limb of Mars after historic arrival

21 hours ago

India's maiden interplanetary voyager, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has transmitted a breathtaking new image eyeing the limb of Mars and its atmosphere against the blackness of space.

The extremes of Earth's Late Heavy Bombardment

22 hours ago

On June 30, 1908 a bolide streaked across the sky in the region near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia. When it exploded, the airburst leveled more than 2,000 square kilometers of trees. It is now ...

User comments : 0