NASA delays moon mission until Saturday
September 9th, 2011
05:11 AM ET

NASA delays moon mission until Saturday

NASA delayed its Friday launch of a moon research mission because of weather issues and will retry on Saturday.

The mission, called GRAIL, will study how the moon was formed. It will explore "the structure of the lunar interior, from crust to core... to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon," NASA said.

The mission will provide new information about how the moon formed and will allow students to take their own pictures of its surface, panelists announced at a news conference at NASA headquarters in Washington on Thursday.

The two spacecraft will be launched in the same housing, which will separate. They will enter synchronized orbits in January, principal investigator Maria Zuber said. The slow trip saves energy. Once in orbit, their speeds will increase when they pass over formations on the moon's surface, allowing scientists to measure those formations based on the distance between the two spacecraft.

The project aims to study how the moon formed, its interior composition and why the side seen from Earth looks so different from the "far side," which isn't as dark because of lava flows, Zuber said.

"Clearly we don't understand what is happening inside the moon," she said.

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Filed under: Solar System • Space
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. raven

    Im disappointed in NASA. Condoning a mission to Moon people is just a waste of money .

    September 9, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Daveo

      Hi. Aerospace Engineer here.

      You don't know what you are talking about.

      Fun Fact! For ever $1 spent on scientific research, $7 is given back to the economy.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Who cares about space

      Hi aerospace engineer here. Unless we prove that faster then light speed is possible, space exploration is a huge waste of $$$. There is nothing of value in our solar system and we have no way to practically get to any other system. Keep the money on earth.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |

    the moon is hollow and like an egg... jesus is inside incubating...

    September 9, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    No Ruffnut its Allah inside incubating....:)

    September 9, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Louis

    No there is just a giant self sufficient butt inside the moon incubating. Its gonna be hilarious when it hatches.

    September 9, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. richajam

    Remember the artical 2 weeks ago about the economy would turn around if we faked an alien invasion? Well, better than that, why not create a space race for the moon if we 'suddenly 'found' human/alien-like ruins on the moon?( or similar)- instead of an invasion? There has always been rumors of an ancient 'alien' base on the dark side of the moon with photograph evidence from space probes from US and the USSR from 20 years ago+. This might be our ticket for a spurred economy. =)

    September 9, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Hybridhor

      There are countless videos on youtube showing very strong evidence of artifacts, bases, towers, mining equipement all over the moon, and a huge NASA coverup. The evidence is overwealming. I believe what I have seen to be true.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      I believe I have a bridge to sell which is a leftover alien artifact. I will let it go for the low, low price of only $10,000. Let me know Hybridhor.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Josh

    I'm dissapointed in the US government for gutting NASA to the point where we can't do a manned mission anywhere. It's sad that the high point of NASA was the 1960's.

    September 9, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. WhatIsThePoint

    "...will study how the moon was formed"
    How much does this mission cost? What is the perceived benefit of knowing how the moon was formed? What is the return on the investment? Are we planning on building moons and planets so we can compete with the Magratheans?

    September 9, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • MARK

      Where's Slartibartfast when you need him? DON'T PANIC!

      September 9, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Daniel in Denver

    For every expenditure from our national budget these days, we need to ask ourselves, "Is this important enough that we should BORROW MONEY to accomplish it?" I don't believe this particular science project passes the litmus test. What's the return on investment here?

    September 9, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Slartibartfast

      This is why you have lost your way, you always make everything about economics. This costs the American people NOTHING, in comparison to the wasteful projects you engage in every day. I mean do you really need all of those senators and congressman? Seems to me you could do better with moon missions. You have become a sour sad people. Learning for the sake of learning and knowing is in itself a worthy goal. Years ago people asked the same economic questions about physics and the study of electronics. Yeah that pure science of about 90 years ago gave us nothing, we should have just stopped learning about electron flow, I mean heck the vacuum tube was good enough wasn't it? SIGH! America, always doing the wrong thing and asking the wrong questions.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. The bovine research team

    Don't you morons know that we cows have been jumping over that moon for centuries?

    September 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. NASA


    September 10, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
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