Andrei Marks · December 13, 2007

Here’s a short article I’m reading for my Newspaper class, it’s about some good old-fashioned American moon exploration.


America’s New Lunar Exploration Plans Will “Dissect” the Moon

- Two satellites will survey the moon while orbiting, in order to explore its internal structure and history of evolution.

Xinhua Press.
America’s NASA made a new press release on the 11th, stating that the United States will be putting a new lunar exploration project into effect, the objective being to survey the moon’s internal structure and evolutionary history.

- The probe is expected to launch in 2011

The full name of the new lunar exploration project is “Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory”, according to the English words the abbreviated name is GRAIL. NASA says that the entire project is estimated to cost about U.S. $375 million, and the probe is expected to lift off into space in 2011, with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory responsible for managing and running the project.
The official release says that the GRAIL project will employ a twin satellite-probe system. After the two satellite-probes separate one will follow behind the other in lunar orbit for several months of flight, and will measure the moons gravity field with an “unprecedented degree of accuracy”. According to the gravity field information, scientists will be able to thoroughly analyze the moon from crust to core, revealing the moon’s surface and subterranean structure, and thus will obtain second hand information about the lunar interior’s thermal evolutionary history.
NASA says that the GRAIL project’s survey data will also help answer a few long-standing and difficult questions about the moon, and will give scientists a better understanding of the earth and even provide new hints about the formation of the solar system’s other rocky planets.
NASA’s assistant administrator responsible for scientific surveys, 艾伦-斯特恩(Allen Stein?), said that they will use innovative technologies from earth surveys in the lunar survey field, and that this is only the first step, and they will attempt to use them in the surveys of Mars or other planets.

- A foreshadowing of a “return to the moon”

According to the United States’ “New Space Exploration Plan”, Americans will “return to the moon” before 2020. Prior to this, NASA already has plans to launch a “Lunar Survey Orbital Flyer” in 2008, which will circle the moon for a year in the least, and which will mainly carry out choosing landing locations and other such activities for the America’s successive manned and unmanned lunar exploration projects. The GRAIL project will be a project foreshadowing the American “return to the moon”.


Recently my Newspaper teacher made some offhand remark about not being so trusting of American space technology, especially after the Challenger explosion (she might have been referring to the Columbia disaster, she only mentioned one, but didn’t attach a name or time). Which was one of the few times in class I’ve gotten a little peeved about something said about America. Anyway, I’ve since let it go. But talk about being ignorant.

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