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NASA crashes Ebb and Flow, names a 'corner of the moon' for Sally Ride

sally ride ebb flow nasa moon

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/ASU /Sally Ride Science

Final resting place on the moon of NASA's Ebb & Flow spacecraft has been named for astronaut and GRAIL collaborator Sally Ride.

Ebb and Flow's Final Moments

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT/GSFC

Ebb and Flow's Final Moments: These side-by-side, 3-D comparisons depict the unnamed lunar mountain targeted by the NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission for controlled impact of the Ebb and Flow spacecraft. They also include the ground tracks the spacecraft are expected to follow into the lunar terrain. These graphics were generated using data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. On the left is the mountain with the ground track and mission termination point for the Ebb spacecraft. On the right is the mountain, ground track and mission termination point for the Flow spacecraft.

grail nasa jpl

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT

GRAIL Spacecraft Over the Moon: An artist’s depiction of the twin spacecraft (Ebb and Flow) that comprise NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is home to the mission's principal investigator, Maria Zuber. GRAIL 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. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.


Ebb and Flow's final resting place on the moon has been named for America's first woman in space, Sally Ride, NASA/JPL announced Monday.

The formation-flying duo hit the lunar surface as planned at 2:28:51 p.m. PST (5:28:51 p.m. EST) and 2:29:21 p.m. PST (5:29:21 p.m. EST) at a speed of 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). The location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is on the southern face of an approximately 1.5-mile-tall (2.5-kilometer) mountain near a crater named Goldschmidt.

"Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today," said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride's contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her."

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NASA to crash two spacecraft into a moon mountain

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT/GSFC

This image shows the variations in the lunar gravity field as measured by NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) during the primary mapping mission from March to May 2012. Very precise microwave measurements between two spacecraft, named Ebb and Flow, were used to map gravity with high precision and high spatial resolution.

The mission impact of NASA's "Ebb" and "Flow" spacecraft will be met with a literal impact when the twin space probes crash into the moon next week. 

The space agency announced Thursday that the flying robots are set for a planned smashing following their successful GRAIL mission to create a lunar gravity map

It must be so great to work at NASA. 

Scientist 1: Hey, do you know about moon gravity?

Scientist 2: Not really.

Scientist 1: Wanna map it?

Scientist 2: Sure.

Scientist 1: Should we get a couple of washing machines and turn 'em into spaceships?

Scientist 2: Totally.

Scientist 1: And then crash them into the moon when we're done and see what happens?

Scientist 2: Yep.

Scientist 1: Cool.

In reality, scientists say the twins — in orbit around the moon and flying in formation since Jan. 1, 2012 — are too small to cause a crash that's visible from Earth. They are expected to make contact with a mountain near the north pole.

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