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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Lunar probes to resolve mystery of moon's interior

• Irene Klotz via
 Two robotic NASA probes are due to arrive at the moon this weekend to resolve a long-standing mystery of what is inside Earth's natural satellite and how it got there.

The 667-pound (303-kg) craft of the U.S. space agency's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission have been flying to the moon since their joint launch in September.

GRAIL A is due to begin a 40-minute braking maneuver to put itself into orbit around the moon at 4:21 p.m. ET on Saturday, with GRAIL B following suit 25 hours later. Both are needed for the intricate gravity-mapping mission scheduled to begin in March.

"We won't be celebrating a lot until after we get GRAIL B into orbit late afternoon on New Year's Day," said project manager David Lehman with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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