NASA’s Twin Grail Spacecraft Reunite in Lunar Orbit

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From STAFF REPORTS Published on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | 10:39 am 12 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Business News First Heatwave Expected Next Week Community News The second of NASA’s two Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft has successfully completed its planned main engine burn and is now in lunar orbit. Working together, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B will study the moon as never before. “NASA greets the new year with a new mission of exploration,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “The twin GRAIL spacecraft will vastly expand our knowledge of our moon and the evolution of our own planet. We begin this year reminding people around the world that NASA does big, bold things in order to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown.”GRAIL-B achieved lunar orbit at 2:43 p.m. PST (5:43 p.m. EST) today. GRAIL-A successfully completed its burn yesterday at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST). The insertion maneuvers placed the spacecraft into a near-polar, elliptical orbit with an orbital period of approximately 11.5 hours. Over the coming weeks, the GRAIL team will execute a series of burns with each spacecraft to reduce their orbital period to just under two hours. At the start of the science phase in March 2012, the two GRAILs will be in a near-polar, near-circular orbit with an altitude of about 34 miles (55 kilometers).During GRAIL’s science mission, the two spacecraft will transmit radio signal precisely defining the distance between them. As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity caused by visible features such as mountains and craters, and masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, the distance between the two spacecraft will change slightly.Scientists will translate this information into a high-resolution map of the moon’s gravitational field. The data will allow scientists to understand what goes on below the lunar surface. This information will increase knowledge of how Earth and its rocky neighbors in the inner solar system developed into the diverse worlds we see today.Each spacecraft carries a small camera called GRAIL MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) with the sole purpose of education and public outreach. The MoonKAM program is led by Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, and her team at Sally Ride Science in collaboration with undergraduate students at the University of California in San Diego.GRAIL MoonKAM will engage middle schools across the country in the GRAIL mission and lunar exploration. Thousands of fifth- to eighth-grade students will select target areas on the lunar surface and send requests to the GRAIL MoonKAM Mission Operations Center in San Diego. Photos of the target areas will be sent back by the GRAIL satellites for students to study.A student contest that began in October 2011 also will choose new names for the spacecraft. The new names are scheduled to be announced in January 2012. Ride and Maria Zuber, the mission’s principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, chaired the final round of judging.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, manages the GRAIL mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The GRAIL mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the Çalifornia Institute of Technology in Pasadena.For more information about GRAIL, visit: Â about MoonKAM is available online at: More Cool Stufflast_img read more

Students celebrate rivalry week at Conquest 2017

first_imgThe Trojan Marching Band performed for the crowd at Conquest before the main musical acts arrived. Photo by Emily Smith | Daily TrojanStudents gathered in McCarthy Quad on Thursday for the annual Conquest celebration in honor of Troy Week, leading up to the USC-UCLA rivalry football game. The event — a collaboration among Undergraduate Student Government Concerts Committee, Trojan Pride, Late Night ’SC and the Office of Campus Activities — featured a spirit rally, carnival and live performances by 17-year old SoundCloud rapper Lil Pump and electronic dance music artist Mr. Carmack. “I thought Conquest was really good,” said Brittney Obanor, a freshman majoring in psychology. “It was a lot better than the Welcome Back Concert … it was less crowded, and it had more activities.”The celebration kicked off at 5 p.m. and featured booths where students could participate in various activities to win merchandise such as “Conquest” T-shirts and drawstring bags, as well as food truck vendors including The Grilled Cheese Truck, Cousins Maine Lobster and My Delight Cupcakery.Conquest performances began at 7 p.m. with a spirit rally, where student groups such as the USC Song Girls, UnderSCore a cappella and hip-hop dance team Chaotic 3 performed. The Trojan Marching Band also performed, accompanied by various Trojan sports teams, who encouraged students to attend their games. The rally was followed by the lighting of the Bruin Bonfire and a fireworks show. “My favorite part was definitely the bonfire, because especially with a giant crowd … I just had this sense of school spirit,” said Isabel Cervantes, a freshman majoring in writing for screen and television. “And the fireworks show right after just topped it off for the hype and intensity that the game’s going to bring.”At the end of the fireworks show, concert opener Mr. Carmack took the stage. Mr. Carmack, a hip-hop and electronic dance music DJ, opened the concert with a set that stayed true to his motto, according to his website: “Make music like no one’s listening.” Mr. Carmack performed without saying a single word until the end of his set, using only his music to engage the audience. His set included remixes of tracks such as Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA.” and Future and Drake’s “Jumpman.”Before concert headliner Lil Pump performed, a few unnamed performers took the stage to hype the artist up and perform other music, making students unsure about when Lil Pump would actually perform — although he was scheduled to start at 9:40 p.m., he didn’t come on stage until 9:56 p.m.“The three people who were up on stage before him, I had no idea who they were, I was confused [about whether]  one of them [was] Lil Pump, but then he finally came on stage,” Cervantes said. Lil Pump performed many of his songs once he finally came to the stage, including his most  popular track, “Gucci Gang,” but Cervantes didn’t enjoy his set. “Lil Pump’s style of music is not necessarily my taste,” Cervantes said. “All of his songs sounded the same, and I couldn’t understand anything he was saying.”Carina Glastris, one of the Concerts Committee co-directors, said the committee chose both Mr. Carmack and Lil Pump due to their potential to become more well-known artists in the future.“For both Welcome Back and Conquest, we’ve looked to book talent that is up and coming,” Glastris said. “So, we went into this show with the same mentality and chose both our headliner and our opening act because we see them as rising stars in the music industry, people that USC students are going to connect with a lot.” According to Glastris, this is the first year that Conquest has been centered around a theme: vintage USC. “It makes it more of a cohesive vision and experience,” Glastris said. “The reason why music festivals have been so successful in the way that they have, especially small, boutique festivals, is because they are built and kind of imagined around some type of a theme.”Another new feature of this year’s Conquest was major corporate sponsors, such as Warner Bros. and Postmates, who provided funding for Conquest attractions like the Postmates-sponsored Ferris wheel, according to Glastris. Besides the music performances and spirit rally, Conquest also featured carnival attractions, such as mini-golf course and an interactive Fujifilm Polaroid photo booth where students took photos in front of a board designed to look like an open yearbook, and then added them to the yearbook, making them a part of the background for the next photo. “Because of the level of effort we’ve seen from everybody on our e-board … this is probably the biggest Conquest yet,” said Concerts Committee Co-director Tufan Nadjafi. Kate Sequeira contributed to this report.last_img read more

Aidan O’Brien sets new world record

first_imgBallydoyle’s Aidan O’Brien has set a new world record for Group 1 winners in a single season.That’s after Saxon Warrior claimed the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster this afternoon.It’s O’Brien’s 26th Group 1 winner in a stunning season for the Tipperary based trainerlast_img