Sunday, January 01, 2012

Grail: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory

GRAIL Spacecraft Logo

NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, spacecraft logo is emblazoned on the first stage of a United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle, now secured in the gantry at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 17B.

Image credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

Mission Overview


The GRAIL mission will place two spacecraft into the same orbit around the Moon. As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity, caused both by visible features such as mountains and craters and by masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, they will move slightly toward and away from each other. An instrument aboard each spacecraft will measure the changes in their relative velocity very precisely, and scientists will translate this information into a high-resolution map of the Moon's gravitational field. 


This gravity-measuring technique is essentially the same as that of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE), which has been mapping Earth's gravity since 2002. See: Grail: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory

See Also: Time-Variable Gravity Measurements





Mean Gravity Field


Who of us could forget what the earth looks like after it has been mapped.

 On planet Earth, we tend to think of the gravitational effect as being the same no matter where we are on the planet. We certainly don't see variations anywhere near as dramatic as those between the Earth and the Moon. But the truth is, the Earth's topography is highly variable with mountains, valleys, plains, and deep ocean trenches. As a consequence of this variable topography, the density of Earth's surface varies. These fluctuations in density cause slight variations in the gravity field, which, remarkably, GRACE can detect from space.

Our views in terms of the gravity field becomes part and parcel of our assessment as we venture out into space. So why not the Moon.



Image Credit: NASA/Goddard

Early assessment of Clementine along with LCROSS paints a interesting feature of our Moon as we look to understand the matter constituent makeup of the moon,  along with what it's gravity field.

Here at Dialogos of Eide I am concerned about this relationship. Such mapping not only becomes useful in the determination of the gravity field but it also heightens the understanding of relating to the elemental.

Future moon missions will need to understand the elemental makeup (while quantum gravity and relativity have not been joined experimentally) in order to use the elements to assist the colony in providing the tools necessary for it's survival there. With a Treaty established such claims to the moon become a societal move beyond earth's domain and truly moves us to civilization that will habitat the stars.

Part of this move into the cosmos will be the need to understand "something spiritual about ourselves and while ethereal in it's assessment this relationship to gravity."  It is also necessary to go "even deeper" to understand our ability to manipulate the force of gravity as a product of the mechanism of the Higg's field as we move through our own psychological underpinnings with the way in which we choose to live. (I know we have yet to proof this connection).

I give some inkling with the four links below. This is my assessment of the relationship toward "my gravity"  as I choose to live in the world of reality.