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GRAIL data reveal battered Moon
Posted: Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 6:23 AM ET (1123 GMT)
GRAIL illustration (NASA) NASA released this week the most accurate gravity field map of the Moon compiled to date, created from data provided by a pair of spacecraft nearing the end of their mission. Scientists used data from the twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft, which have been orbiting the Moon since the beginning of the year, to create the best map of the Moon's gravity field yet developed. Scientists said this gravity field is closely linked to surface topography, such as craters and mountains, more so than any other terrestrial world in the solar system. Scientists also said the gravity data show that the Moon's crust is "incredibly" fractured, more so than previously thought. GRAIL's extended mission is scheduled to end on December 17, and the two spacecraft will crash into the lunar surface shortly thereafter.
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