Space

NASA releases GRAIL video

Still from the JPL GRAIL video (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Still from the JPL GRAIL video (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
View 4 Images
Artist's concept of the GRAIL spacecraft (Image: NASA)
1/4
Artist's concept of the GRAIL spacecraft (Image: NASA)
Artist's concept of the GRAIL spacecraft (Image: NASA)
2/4
Artist's concept of the GRAIL spacecraft (Image: NASA)
Final orbit of the GRAIL spacecraft and heritage landing sites (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
3/4
Final orbit of the GRAIL spacecraft and heritage landing sites (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Still from the JPL GRAIL video (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
4/4
Still from the JPL GRAIL video (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a video transmitted by the GRAIL lunar orbiters during their final days. The dramatic footage was taken on December 14, 2012 as part of a final systems check before the twin spacecraft shut down their instruments in preparation for a controlled impact into a lunar mountain.

Taken from the lead spacecraft Ebb’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school Students) cameras, it shows the view of Ebb flying at an altitude of 6 miles (10 km) above the Moon’s northern hemisphere in the vicinity of Jackson crater (22.4°N 163.1°W). The brief videos were made from stills from Ebb’s fore and aft cameras in two sequences made of 931 and 1,489 frames respectively and runs at six times normal in speed in playback.

The GRAIL mission was comprised of two unmanned spacecraft named Ebb and Flow that flew in tight formation as part of a mission to chart lunar gravitational anomalies, and resulted in the most detailed gravitational map of any body in the Solar System. In order to prevent contamination of historic lunar landing sites, the craft were deliberately crashed into a mountain near the lunar north pole on December 17, 2012.

The GRAIL video is below.

Source: JPL

Parting Moon Shots from NASA's GRAIL mission

9 comments
Jeff Michelson
Is anyone else besides me totally unimpressed with these images? I'm sure NASA learned plenty, but a large part of me wants more, considering all the money, OUR money, our TAX dollars, spent on these missions.
John Hagen-Brenner
Is there POV video of the moments leading up to impact, like the Ranger images?
Dr.Veritas
Ditto Jeff! I wanted to be impressed, why else would I look? I was hoping to see the video of the actual impact, if there were two, why not have one film the other one all the way to impact and then impact itself? I obviously don't know much about this mission but perhaps we will be rewarded with some fabulous computer generated gravitational images? Or not?
Brian Mcc
Jeff... GRAIL wasn't meant to take pretty pics for You. Doubt You would find its REAL mission of any interest..Lots of science stuff with big words and all.
Gregg Eshelman
Final systems checkout. Translation "Let's make sure everything still works before we destroy it."
Arahant
The purpose of this wasnt for watching it was to make sure things were working properly before it crashed, so they could get some scientific information out of it, the fact that was have this pictures at all is pretty cool and yeah the quality wasnt that great but i thought it was pretty cool the see a fly-by from that low of an altitude. I dunno about anyone else but i was thinking as i was watching this that it almost seemed computer generated, im guessing its a combination of low quality camera's aswell as the lack of detail of the lunar surface, and how alot of times in the media when we see lunar surfaces its computer generated(movies, computer games etc).
warren52nz
Well i thought it was great seeing the Moon up close and more than just still shots. I thought the word "dramatic" was well used for this.
Dido Dido
This is a rework of the GRAIL’s moon shots along with gravity maps created from the data acquired, enjoy it ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX8nKojIiHI
Jeff Michelson
You're right Brian. I'm too dum to unerstind big werds and sinensey stuff.
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.