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Published on Mar 10, 2012
After the GRAIL-A (Ebb) spacecraft settled into its highly elliptical initial lunar orbit at the end of 2011, preliminary checkout of its systems and payload instruments began while the orbit was lowered to the planned operational science orbit by a series of thruster burns. This video clip was the first one taken of the Moon by the onboard "MoonKAM" system -- consisting of four RocketCam color video cameras and control avionics. You can see the camera's autogain function activating as more of the Moon comes into view, resulting in a stunning image. (This video plays much faster than real-time.)