Players can create rockets, aircraft, spaceplanes, rovers, and other craft from a provided set of components. Once built, the craft can be launched by players from the KSC launch pad or runway, or other launch pads and runways around Kerbin, in an attempt to complete player-set or game-directed missions while avoiding partial or catastrophic failure (such as lack of fuel or structural failure). Players control their spacecraft in three dimensions with little assistance other than a stability system called “SAS” to keep their rocket oriented. Provided it maintains sufficient thrust and fuel, a spacecraft can enter orbit or even travel to other celestial bodies. To visualize vehicle trajectory, the player must switch into map mode; this displays the orbit or trajectory of the player vehicle, as well as the position and trajectory of other spacecraft and planetary bodies. These planets and other vehicles can be targeted to view information needed for rendezvous and docking, such as ascending and descending nodes, target direction, and relative velocity to the target. While in map mode, players can also access maneuver nodes to plan out trajectory changes in advance.
The GRAIL mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The mission was part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Despite this oddball moon's many exotic attributes, it actually sports one of the most Earth-like surfaces in our Solar System. Titan may also experience volcanic activity, but its volcanoes would erupt with different ingredients than the molten-rock lava that shoots out from the volcanoes of Earth. In dramatic contrast to what occurs on our own planet, Titan's volcanoes erupt icy water "lava" (cryovolcanism). Titan's entire alien surface has been sculpted by gushing methane and ethane, which carves river channels, and fills its enormous great lakes with liquid natural gas.
"We are just beginning to try and figure out quantitatively how all this might smooth a surface," Dr. Thomas said in the May 17, 2013 New Scientist.