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NASA's GRAIL spacecraft begin the process of staring way too hard at the moon

Darren Murph

NASA's overall initiatives may be throttled, but the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft haven't heard of any such limitations. These guys have officially started their collection mission, orbiting the moon for the next 80-some-odd days in order to obtain a high-resolution map of the lunar gravitational field. Why? Humans told 'em too, of course. Outside of the conventional knee-jerk response, scientists are also hoping to grok more about the moon's "internal structure and composition," and perhaps even get a better understanding of how "Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved." Cleverly, the GRAIL mission's twin machines are named Ebb and Flow (thanks to a group of youngsters in Bozeman, Montana), and while it's not being made public, we wouldn't be shocked to hear that the whole thing is being covertly funded by Sir Richard Branson. The moon is totally the next hot real estate market, right?

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