Wallpaper Wednesday

14 09 2011
Grail on launchpad

GRAIL on Launchpad. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/United Launch Alliance, Thom Baur

Download this week’s wallpaper to celebrate the successful launch last Saturday (September 9, 2011) of NASA’s Grail mission to map the effects of lunar gravity. Three and a half months from now, twin Grail spacecraft will be following the same orbital path around the mood. As NASA explains:

“As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity, caused both by visible features such as mountains and craters and by masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, they will move slightly toward and away from each other. An instrument aboard each spacecraft will measure the changes in their relative velocity very precisely, and scientists will translate this information into a high-resolution map of the Moon’s gravitational field.”

You can watch the GRAIL pre-launch/launch/post-launch videos on NASA’s Youtube channel.

Wallpaper: NASA’s GRAIL twin spacecraft await launch atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.



Observatories and Instruments