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GRAIL Mission Video Released

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the stately-grace dept.

Moon 36

SchrodingerZ writes "A new video was released yesterday by NASA from the GRAIL mission probes, which ended their mission last month as they impacted the lunar surface. 'Dramatic' footage was captured by the probe Ebb on December 14th. The video was taken from the 'MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school Students) cameras. It shows the view of Ebb flying at an altitude of 6 miles (10 km) above the Moon's northern hemisphere in the vicinity of Jackson crater (22.4N 163.1W).' Two videos were released, one from the fore and one from the aft of the probe, showing a forwards and backwards time lapse containing 931 and 1,489 pictures each of the lunar terrain. The footage was part of the probes' final systems check before they shut down and were sent into a controlled impact to a predetermined location."

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36 comments

Recorded with... (2)

okor (1848382) | about a year ago | (#42562057)

..an iPhone? What's with the weird aspect ratio? Also, this is amazing.

Re:Recorded with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562167)

What I think would've been cool is impact imagery. I imagine it would give a better idea of scale.

is it true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562183)

that these probes are powered by coconuts?

Nice. Can u see the pixels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562209)

Thats cool, but I bet I could render something like that. You can also see the LOD pop as it gets further out. Either that or the camera is adjusting for light.

Ask Slashdot question in the making... (4, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#42562285)

Hey armchair astrophysicists... A thought occurred to me when watching this video. Since the moon has a negligible atmosphere, how close can a spacecraft reliably orbit it? Other than the ability to make sure eccentricity is near 0, what would stop a satellite from orbiting a few hundred meters above the tallest peak?

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562339)

Abrasive dust lifted by electrostatic forces could really foul your optics.

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (4, Informative)

tjp (264994) | about a year ago | (#42562473)

The whole purpose of this mission was to measure the variations in the moon's gravity by flying at a very low altitude. Consequently, those gravitational variations introduced changes in the orbit requiring relatively frequent corrections. It follows that the closer you orbit, the more actively you'll have to work to maintain that orbit. When you fly low over a mountain, the extra mass in that area will pull you down, and you'll have to correct for that with upward thrust.

The moon's uneven gravity field presents a challenge to ground controllers planning trajectories for low-altitude lunar orbiters. The tug of lunar gravity can alter a satellite's orbit, requiring frequent rocket burns to adjust the spacecraft's path around the moon.

Spaceflight Now, March 21, 2012 [spaceflightnow.com]

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (3, Interesting)

White Yeti (927387) | about a year ago | (#42562653)

I've even heard it more-broadly stated that there are NO long-term stable lunar orbits. It's an issue for orbital debris: since (1) objects don't burn up on entry, and (2) an uncontrolled orbit is impossible to predict in the long term, therefor all lunar orbiters should be removed rather than abandoned and lunar deorbits should be targeted rather than random.

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#42562553)

negligible atmosphere...what would stop a satellite from orbiting a few hundred meters above the tallest peak?

A small error in navigation :-)

Essentially that's what they did to (intentionally) crash it. It hit a mountain side almost completely horizontally.

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562565)

The serious answer is that the lunar mass is not uniformly distributed. The second-and-higher order gravitational anomalies will perturb a circular orbit into an elliptical one. Eventually, the semi-minor axis of the elliptical orbit will equal the lunar radius, and the spacecraft will crash.

For reference, LRO spent almost two years in a mostly-circular orbit at 50 km altitude above the surface. Every two weeks or so they had to perform a maneuvering burn to maintain the circular orbit. At the end of those two years the spacecraft was placed in a more stable 30 km x 200 km orbit, where it remains.

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#42562567)

You can't reliably orbit the moon at low altitude without a large supply of fuel to keep reboosting your orbiter. Because of mascons [wikipedia.org] , the moon's gravitational field is very "lumpy" (has regions of higher and lower gravity) and thus such orbits are unstable.

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562747)

SOLAR WIND

Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | about a year ago | (#42566591)

Short answer: If the moon was a perfectly uniform sphere with a perfect gravity gradient (as you would assume in in high-school physics), yes. In real life, the moon is seriously lumpy and that plays havoc with the long-term low-altitude orbits.

More like this! (1)

pr0t0 (216378) | about a year ago | (#42562443)

I mean, magnetometer data is good and necessary and all, but this is the kind of thing that really ignites the imagination and sparks interest.

Also NASA, try to remember to turn your phone sideways when shooting video. It's ok, I do it too sometimes.

This is a really interesting mission. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#42562457)

I cant wait for the data to be interpolated and released from these missions. It has allot of potential to answer questions about the moon. Its probably the single most interesting experiment I can think of. It might even tell us if theres pockets of material buried in specific areas much like they used it to monitor earths aquifers.

I want to see it "kiss" the surface, darnit! (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#42562585)

"Where's the Kaboom!? There's supposed to be a moon-shattering Kaboom!" -MM

Why didn't the shoot all the way down? (1)

erice (13380) | about a year ago | (#42562679)

The footage was part of the probes' final systems check before they shut down and were sent into a controlled impact to a predetermined location.

Why shut anything down? Granted, they may not be able to see much since the impact was on the night side but I don't see what harm there could be in keeping the camera rolling until it's explosive decommissioning.

Re:Why didn't the shoot all the way down? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#42562855)

Because NASA doesn't want you to know the TRUTH! That "probe" is on a laundry line coasting over a movie set in Area 51! Know why the video is so short? They ran out of hangar floor space that's why. I've got a cousin in New Mexico he told me ALL about it...

Obligatory VVS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562709)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9zSfinwFA

It does look like cheese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562809)

Wow! We do some amazing things sometimes...

no stars ?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562827)

Obviously confirms that we never went to the moon, either during the Apollo times or this time too.

This is done on a stage... there are no stars in the background !

Nasa always gets it wrong , its so obvious.

I mean... it's just obviously obvious.

LOL at USCD's web designer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42562951)

https://moonkam.ucsd.edu/news/nasa_honors_sally

A 2,509 pixel wide image, shrunk down to 150 odd pixels wide on the webpage - excellent.

Sally 'Ride' - who went along for the ride - seeing as WOMEN could never put another woman in space, ON THEIR OWN. What's so special about this PASSENGER, who leeched off the hard work and intelligence of MEN? White men, at that, of course. Why is she so 'special'? First woman to get on a bus? First woman to sit on an aeroplane? First woman to sit on a ship? First woman to sit inside a submarine?

MEN built all of these things - WHITE MEN. Notice how they are just ignored and removed from history, as if all these things just magically appear from nowhere.

Thank your hate-filled Jewish 'masters' for all of this bullshit.

www.jewishproblem.com

Ha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42564207)

so USA can shoot missles now as far as the moon
NOW beat that china and russia

Apple iPhone 5 not so bad after all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42564523)

It seems the NASA camera has the same purple blotch issue as the iPhone 5.

Even NASA is afflicted w/ Vertical Video Syndrome! (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | about a year ago | (#42565171)

It's bad, OK? [youtube.com]

Re:Even NASA is afflicted w/ Vertical Video Syndro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42565345)

What is bad is using a video host that forces an aspect ratio on you. Youtube also does lousy conversion. In this video you can see that it jumps once a second, probably due to bad frame rate conversion/pulldown. I can't believe NASA doesn't have the resources to recompress and host their own videos.

Spectrography (1)

vix86 (592763) | about a year ago | (#42565501)

A thought just occurred.

There's often talk about whether there is a lot of Helium-3 under the surface of the moon since the astronauts brought back rocks containing lots of it. Shouldn't this helium show up in a spectrum analysis of the dirt plume from the crash?

Re:Spectrography (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#42572467)

If the wavelengths can be interpolated from the data. So far it looks like 2 channel binary black and white. So I doubt it in this case.

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