NASA and Students to Announce New Names for Twin Lunar Probes

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA will host a news conference at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST), on Tuesday, Jan. 17, to announce the names selected from a nationwide student contest for twin spacecraft that will study the moon in unprecedented detail. The event will be held at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Nine hundred schools and more than 11,000 students from 45 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, participated in the contest that began in October 2011. 

The agency’s twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL A/B) spacecraft successfully achieved lunar orbit on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, respectively. The status of the spacecraft and upcoming plans for science operations also will be discussed.

NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast the live event. Journalists can participate from NASA centers or join by phone. To obtain dial-in information, media representatives must contact Steve Cole at by 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) on Jan. 17.

 The participants are:

— John Grunsfeld, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington

— Leland Melvin, associate administrator for Education, NASA Headquarters

— Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

— Sally Ride, president and CEO, Sally Ride Science, San Diego

— Teacher and students submitting the selected names

 The event will be carried live on Ustream, with a live chat box available, at:

For more information about GRAIL, visit: or

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The GRAIL mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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