NASA's new favourite ships for all Middle school students are now ready to start work: GRAIL-B has joined her twin GRAIL-A into a near-polar, elliptical orbit around the moon. Both will spin around the moon one time every 11.5 hours.
The probes will be ready for science on March 2012, when they will be completing an orbit every two hours in a near-circular orbit at just 55 kilometres over the Moon's surface.
The GRAIL mission — Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory — is designed to map the Moon's gravity map, allowing scientists to "see" into the interior of our satellite. The twin spacecraft constantly measure the distances between them and the surface of the Moon, which make them capable of detecting any changes on the gravity field.
The best part are the small cameras aboard both ships, called MoonKAM. Middle school students would be able to control these cameras in a special program led by America's first woman in the space, Sally Ride. Maybe one of the students will find aliens there. [NASA]