1. UP IN THE AIR

    NASA Sends Probe Into Moon Orbit

    NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory / AP Photo

    NASA kicked off the near year by sending a probe into the moon’s orbit. The probe is one of two of the space program’s new Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory spacecraft (GRAIL) making their way around the moon this weekend. The second one is scheduled to take off Sunday evening. Once they are both in orbit, the probes will spend the next couple of weeks getting closer to the moon as they measure changes in velocity to learn more about earth’s gravitational surface. “My resolution for the new year is to unlock lunar mysteries and understand how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets evolved,” said the principal GRAIL investigator and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. GRAIL is purposely moving at a much slower pace than the previous Apollo mission to give “mission planners and controllers more time to assess the spacecraft’s health,” explained NASA.

    Read it at PCMag