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.

Post by:
Filed under: Solar System • Space
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Let's hope the moon won't be gone by then.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. mentalray

    C'mon NASA, God made the Moon.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
    • EZ

      I LOLed.

      September 9, 2011 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Wildknife

      C'Mon Mentalray, really...wait a sec... your trying to get me to feed you.. I wont feed the trolls! I wont!! (and if your not trolling.. God's really testing my faith with people like you)

      September 9, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Gina

      @ Wildknife – it's YOU'RE, not YOUR

      September 9, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. LOW LYF

    THE MOON IS AN ALEIN SPACESTATION EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT

    September 9, 2011 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Wildknife

      Dude..not space station, Alien ship yard..and I dunno the Alein race.. why they look like?

      September 9, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. LOW LYF

    ME AND MY BUDDY ARE GOING TO DRIVE OUR 82 CAMARO TO THE MOON WHEN WE GET ENOUGH GAS MONEY

    September 9, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. LOW LYF

    THEY LOOK LIKE HUMANS BUT HAVE TWO ANUS"S

    September 9, 2011 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hoofleau

    All this time, money, and effort over the past few decades and NASA is doing this now? Doesn't make sense, unless there is an alien threat. I assure you all that we will know in 2012. It's coming.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bozobub

      Google "Helium-3", then shut up.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. LOW LYF

    2012 IS THE YEAR THEY WILL BAN MY 82 CAMARO CAUSE ITS SO FAST

    September 9, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. ObeeWan

    That's no moon .. it's a space station! Too big to be a space station? Tractor beam locked on!

    September 9, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. pastmorm

    Um...I thought with all of our trips to the moon...we knew something about it? NOW we're going back after 40 some years?
    God didn't make the moon. Nature did. Please stop being stupid.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • LOW LYF

      GOING TO HELL FOR THAT COMMENT

      September 9, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. chuck

    Don't be fooled........these moon missions they are doing now, are to put mock ups on the surface of the moon of apollo looking craft to make it look like we were there already.......The apollo missions were a fake and now they are trying to put equipment on the surface of the moon in case some other country makes it to the moon and doesn't find any equipment left behind. The United States thought they would never have to worry about anyone ever really making it to the moon, but now they are caught in there own lie and have to cover it up by dumping fake capsules, landers, rovers on the surface.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • monty

      Makes perfect sense.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • JKR79

      I I understand there is some credibility to some of the facts behind the moon conspiracy, but we've been back since our first supposed moon landing and other countries have been there since also. If they didn't accuse us of lying about it yet, then why would we feel the need to go put equipment there. I could understand the government lying about it the first time so we could beat the Russian's, but if you still don't believe we've been there since then you're taking your conspiracies a little far.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • MOCaseA

      One thing you are forgetting is that we have been there multiple times, and that anyone with a good telescope and find the evidence of it.

      Also, these two spacecraft are going to be ORBITING THE MOON not landing on it. There is a plan to put better research craft on the moon, but not during this mission.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Um, the US is still the only country to have sent people onto the moon.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. LOW LYF

    I DONT KNOW HOW THEY ARE GOING TO DO THAT HARDLY ANYTHING MADE IN U.S.A. MAYBE CHINA WILL MAKE IT

    September 9, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. Don

    We can't fix our roads or hire teachers but we can afford to study the internal nature of the MOON. You can't write this stuff in science fiction.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      wow your science fiction must be boring

      September 9, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Hal

    Thanks, everyone! I read CNN comments solely to see how any article whatsoever can be turned into a source for religious battles, conspiracy theories, political diatribe, and people whose SHIFT LOCK key is broken. And this seemingly innocuous piece brought it all together, with an '82 Camaro, to boot. Thanks, everyone!!

    September 9, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mike Distance

    Blow up the moon and be done with it, it does nothing but take up space and will eventually crash into the earth. Let's get it BEFORE it gets us.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Bozobub

      Fail.
      a) The moon slowly gets FARTHER AWAY from the Earth over time, and
      b) Blowing up the Moon would simply give the Earth a ring system (for a few million years, w/o "shepherd" moons, ring systems eventually deteriorate).
      Silly git.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • JKR79

      Also, if you appreciate our tides, our weather, and our ocean species you wouldn't want to blow the moon up. Earth without the gravitational pull of the moon would mean oceans that are as still as a lake, no tides, no currents, no gulf streams, and a large die off of aquatic species that rely on these.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • MOCaseA

      Blowing up the moon would be a bad idea. You think the weather is bad now? wait till there is no moon!

      Tides as we know them will cease to exist (there will still be a tide, but it would be mere inches compared to the feet it is now)
      Due to the massive change in tides weather would go from bad to worse.
      Tectonics would be severly disrupted causing massive quakes world wide as the continental plates start floating "aimlessly".
      Even animal migrations and mating cycles would be disrupted.

      Eventually due to inhospitable conditions life would end. But hey, what does a guy who actually does research and tries to learn things know...

      September 9, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. MoonMuffin

    I thought moon was really hot and people can't go there. Or was that the sun? I only hope "LOW LYF" makes it safe to the moon in 2012. God Bless.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • MOCaseA

      At certain times the moon is really hot (like when the sun is shining on it) and at other times it is really cold (like when it is eclipsed ot "night" on the moon). The difference for unprotected humans is quite deadly (several hundred degrees above zero to a couple hundred below zero) which is why we always made an effort to land in the transition zone (halfway between light and dark).

      September 9, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Dont worry about the sun's heat moonmuffin, they are going at night.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3