Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two NASA Probes Enter Lunar Orbit

NASA - Two NASA Probes Tackle New Mission: Studying The Moon:

"Two small NASA probes that had been used to study space weather now are orbiting the moon to study its interior and surface composition.

The spacecraft, called Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun (ARTEMIS), began their journey away from Earth's orbit in July 2009. The first spacecraft entered lunar orbit on June 27, and the second on July 17.

Engineers used complex orbit maneuvers to relocate the spacecraft to their new locations. The journey required many gravity assists from the moon and Earth and used minimal amounts of fuel.

The probes will now approach the moon's surface to within sixty miles once per orbit. The data will provide scientists with new information about the moon's internal structure for the next seven to 10 years."