Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Moon and Sally Ride

NASA ended its GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) missionlunar research mission by crashing two lunar probes, Ebb and Flow, into the moon yesterday. The probes were at the end of their useful lives and added one last data set by hititng the lunar surface, creating seismic shock waves that lunar-surface instruments could "hear" to learn more about the stucture of the moon (which is surprisingly complex for a onetime chunk of Earth that pretty much doesn't so anything except get hit by meteors and stomped on by astronauts).
The impact site was named for a national hero - America's first woman astronaut, Sally Ride. (If you find a new feature on the moon, you get to name it, and the same is true when you create a new feature. ) So it's the Sally K. Ride Impact Site.  Given that her whole life was about making an impact on science and exploration, I think she'd appreciate that. 

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