NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday, Dec. 17, in honor of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America’s first woman in space and a member of the probes’ mission team.
The formation-flying duo hit the lunar surface as planned at 2:28:51 p.m. PST and 2:29:21 p.m. PST 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.
The impact marked a successful end to the GRAIL mission, which was NASA’s first planetary mission to carry cameras fully dedicated to education and public outreach. Ride, who died in July after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, led GRAIL’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program through her company, Sally Ride Science, in San Diego.
This mission development is an excellent companion to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Engineering Design Process: On the Moon: On Target. To access this lesson, visit the NES Virtual Campus.
For more information about the GRAIL mission visit https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/grail/news/grail20121217.html.