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San Diego Middle School Students Lured By MoonKAM

Audio

Aired 1/3/12

San Diego middle school students join NASA researchers to look at the moon as never before.

— An 80-day space mission called MoonKAM combines the efforts of middle school students, NASA researchers and UC San Diego undergraduates.

Earth's Moon

Above: Earth's Moon

NASA's MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) lets thousands of 5th through 8th graders in classrooms across the country sign up for the program.

The young students will be in charge of special cameras on twin satellites that entered the moon's orbit on New Year's day.

Artist concept of GRAIL  performing its lunar orbit.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Above: Artist concept of GRAIL performing its lunar orbit. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

The spacecrafts named Grail A and B are orbiting the moon in tandem and at close range to map the moon's quirky gravitational field and inner-core structure.

Scientists hope the new data will provide clues on how the moon and earth were formed.

The results of a student contest to rename the satellites will be announced later this month.

The MoonKAM mission is an educational and public outreach program. It is a collaborative effort led by America’s first woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride, NASA and undergraduates at UC, San Diego.

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