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GRAIL: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory
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Contest FAQ

Naming Contest - Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can participate in the essay contest?
This contest is open to all students in the U.S. in kindergarten to 12th grade.

I have given this assignment to my classes as a project. Can I send all the entries I collected?
You are welcome and encouraged to use this contest as a class assignment, but each teacher may only submit one entry per class to be considered in the judging.

I teach more than one class. Can I send more than one entry?
Yes, you can submit one entry per class you teach. Please use the "Notes" field in the submission form to let us know you are submitting more than one entry.

NOTE: There is a place on the submission form for you to enter the names of all of the students in your class(es) who contributed toward a class discussion or assignment about naming the two GRAIL spacecraft.

I am the leader of a Boy/Girl Scout Troop. Can my group participate?

Can home-schooled students enter this essay contest?

I live in the United States, and I'm enrolled in school, but I'm not a United States citizen. Can I still enter the contest?

Can students from different grades work together?
Yes, but you must indicate the grade level for each student who wrote the entry.

Are spelling and grammar important?
Yes, spelling and grammar are important, but we are most interested in the spacecraft names and the justification for selecting these names.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the contest?
Send an email to

What happens if more than one student writes about the same pair of names for the spacecraft?
The judges reserve the right to choose names that have been submitted by multiple students. If more than one class submits the same winning names, the justification for the names will be used as a tie-breaker.

Note: All students who submitted the winning names will be acknowledged on the GRAIL website.

What do my students get if they win?

  • The two spacecraft, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B, will be officially renamed with the winning names selected by the judges.
  • The class of the student(s) whose teacher submitted the winning spacecraft names and the best justification for selecting these names will be invited to participate in a teleconference with GRAIL mission team members.
  • Autographed MoonKAM images will be mailed to the winning school.
  • All students who submitted the winning spacecraft names will be listed on the GRAIL website.

Where can I get more information about the GRAIL mission?
Visit and

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Last Updated: 18 Oct 2011