"The Earth's moon has been an endless source of fascination for humanity for thousands of years. When at last Apollo 11 landed on the moon's surface in 1969, the crew found a desolate, lifeless orb, but one which still fascinates scientist and non-scientist alike. This image of the moon's north polar region was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC. One of the primary scientific objectives of LROC is to identify regions of permanent shadow and near-permanent illumination. Since the start of the mission, LROC has acquired thousands of Wide Angle Camera images approaching the north pole. From these images, scientists produced this mosaic, which is composed of 983 images taken over a one month period during northern summer. This mosaic shows the pole when it is best illuminated, regions that are in shadow are candidates for permanent shadow."Source: NASA
[Updated September 9, 10:02 am ET] GRAIL's launch has scrubbed a second time for high winds. The next opportunities for launch are Saturday: 8:29 or 9:08 am ET.
[Updated September 8, 9:26 am ET] GRAIL's launch has scrubbed for the day due to out-of-tolerance high-level wind conditions. NASA has two opportunities to launch on Friday: 8:33 or 9:12 am ET.
Change, big change is coming, says Maria Zuber. “I’m predicting that we’re gonna find something and I don’t know what it is,” says Zuber, “and it’s really gonna surprise us and turn our understanding of how the moon and other terrestrial planets formed on its ear”.
Zuber is the principal scientist for NASA’s GRAIL Mission to the moon. GRAIL is a space agency acronym for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory. The mission is designed to try and figure out what the moon is made of. GRAIL has two chances to launch on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida: 8:37 a.m. and 9:16 a.m. EDT.
This week, a special group of space lovers will travel to Kennedy Space Center to participate in the latest NASA Tweetup, which is expected to culminate in the launch of the moon-bound GRAIL mission.
So what's a Tweetup?
At its most basic, a Tweetup is a gathering of Twitter users, generally organized via Twitter and talked about on Twitter during the event. For NASA, Tweetups tend to be a formal program, lasting anywhere from two hours to two days long, and centered around a launch, person, event or anniversary. The first NASA Tweetup was held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California in 2009, and the most recent event was for the launch of the Jupiter-bound Juno space craft in August. GRAIL's event is next, and it likely won't be the last.