American Space Rocket Close Up Pics



This important measurement was made using Cassini's INMS instrument, which detects gases with the goal of determining their composition. INMS was designed to sample the upper atmosphere of Saturn's large, smoggy moon Titan. However, after Cassini's surprising discovery of a tall plume if icy spray erupting from cracks on Enceladus in 2005, planetary scientists turned its detectors to that small moon. "The near-side of the Moon has been studied for centuries, and yet continues to offer up surprises for scientists with the right tools. We interpret the gravity anomalies discovered by GRAIL as part of the lunar magma plumbing system--the conduits that fed lava to the surface during ancient volcanic eruptions," Dr. Maria Zuber explained in an October 1, 2014 NASA Press Release. Dr. Zuber is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. The twin spacecraft flew in an almost-circular orbit until the mission ended on December 17, 2012, when the probes were intentionally sent down to the lunar surface. NASA ultimately named the impact site in honor of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America's first woman in space and a member of the GRAIL mission team.