“GRAIL MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) is GRAIL’s signature education and public outreach program. It is led by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, and her team at Sally Ride Science in collaboration with undergraduate students at the University of California San Diego.
GRAIL is NASA’s first planetary mission to carry instruments that are fully dedicated to education and public outreach. These instruments are cameras attached to each of the two GRAIL spacecraft. Middle school classrooms participating in the MoonKAM program will choose which features on the lunar surface the cameras will photograph. MoonKAM will begin in early March 2012 when the GRAIL satellites are in orbit around the Moon and the dedicated MoonKAM cameras are activated. The MoonKAM mission is expected to last approximately 80 days.
The MoonKAM website will show the spacecraft orbits projected onto a map of the Moon, showing exactly where each spacecraft will be at any given date and time during the mission. Students will be able to click on any point on those orbits and zoom in for a closer look at the features at that location. When they decide what they want to take a picture of, they will submit the date and time they want the picture taken, along with the latitude and longitude of the lunar feature. It’s all done right on the website.
Classrooms can follow the progress of each request by using a tracking number at the MoonKAM website. They can see when their request has been accepted, when their instructions have been uploaded to the spacecraft, when their picture has been taken, and when it has been downloaded to the MoonKAM server.