A NASA spacecraft has captured and beamed back to Earth its first video of the far side of the moon, which is never visible from Earth. The footage comes from Ebb, one of NASA's twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) probes, which will eventually be used as part of a project allowing students to explore the lunar surface, NASA announced yesterday. The probe is equipped with a new camera called MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students).
"The quality of the video is excellent and should energize our MoonKAM students as they prepare to explore the moon," GRAIL's principle investigator said. The two spacecraft have been orbiting the moon since New Year's Day, and NASA intends to test the other craft's camera later. Eventually, students in fourth through eighth grades will use Ebb and Flow to study the lunar surface, picking areas to target and sending requests for photos to NASA. More than 2,500 schools have signed up to participate. (Read more moon stories.)