Posted: Jan 17, 2012 11:06 AM by KBZK News
Updated: Jan 18, 2012 10:28 AM
Students at Bozeman's Emily Dickinson School have chosen the names for a pair of NASA probes put in orbit around the moon on New Year's Eve.
The fourth graders in Nina DiMauro's class chose the names Ebb and Flow in a competition with more than 11,000 students from 900 classrooms in 45 states.
The announcement was made live on NASA TV from the classroom in Bozeman Tuesday morning.
The spacecraft are part of the Grail program to explore earth's moon. 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.
Mapping of moon will begin in early March. The two spacecraft are in lunar orbit.
Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. said they initially gave them the names "A" and "B" but that wasn't very creative, so they held a national contest.
Grail is the first spacecraft dedicated entirely to education, said Sally Ride, president and CEO, Sally Ride Science, San Diego.
"Students own these cameras. They'll decide what pictures to take," Ride said.
Zuber and Ride chose the names based primarily on the quality of essays submitted with the entries.
There are 2,100 classrooms already signed up. By mid-March expect over 3,000 schools to be participating in the program.
They then went via Skype to Emily Dickinson School in Bozeman where students broke into a cheer when their names for the spacecraft were announced.
"We can't believe it's actually happened to us," teacher DiMauro said.