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Image of Moon and GRAIL Spacecraft
Image of Moon and GRAIL Spacecraft
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GRAIL: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory
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Students Demonstrate How To Get Images From Lunar Orbit
8 Jun 2012
(Source: NASA/JPL/MIT)

Dr. John Holdren, left, looks on as Amber Grass, at computer, and Erin Smeltzer, from Harwich Middle School in Harwich, Mass., show off their Moonkam science findings.
Dr. John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), left, looks on as Amber Grass, at computer, and Erin Smeltzer, from Harwich Middle School in Harwich, Mass., show off their Moonkam science findings, during the GRAIL MoonKam student expo, Friday, June 1, 2012, in Washington.

PASADENA, Calif. - Middle-school students and their teachers gathered in Washington last Friday (6/1) to demonstrate science lessons and highlight images they took from lunar orbit using NASA's lunar orbiting Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft and its MoonKAM system. Along with demonstrating their knowledge of the moon and science, the students listened to presentations from the GRAIL mission's lead scientist, Maria Zuber, NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, President Obama's science advisor John Holdren, and Sally Ride, America's first woman in space. The event took place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

"I was more than impressed with the student demonstrations and their grasp of lunar science, I was blown away," said Maria Zuber, principal investigator of the GRAIL mission from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. "The GRAIL mission and MoonKAM are making a difference in young student's lives one image at a time."

MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) is the education and public outreach instrument aboard the lunar orbiting GRAIL spacecraft. MoonKAM provides students around the world with an opportunity to identify and choose images of the moon's surface using small cameras aboard the two lunar orbiters of GRAIL - Ebb and Flow. To date, over 80,000 pictures of the lunar surface have been commanded, imaged and received by fifth- to eighth-grade students. The MoonKAM program is led by Sally Ride and her team at Sally Ride Science in collaboration with undergraduate students at the University of California in San Diego.

"The MoonKAM program brings out students' natural enthusiasm for science,"said Sally Ride. "Many of these students will be our future scientists and I expect some of them may even visit the craters they photographed."

The GRAIL mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA's Deep Space Network is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For information about MoonKAM, visit:
For more information about GRAIL, visit: and

DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington

Caroline McCall 617-253-1682
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

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Last Updated: 5 Dec 2012