GRAIL Spacecraft Naming

At the end of a nationwide school contest, on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, the GRAIL spacecraft officially received their new names, EBB and FLOW.

  • GRAIL-A name: EBB
  • GRAIL-B name: FLOW

  • Winning School: Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana
  • Winning Classroom: Nina DiMauro's 4th Grade

  • Winning Essay:
    "We have been studying the Solar System and learning about the Sun, Planets, and the Moon. We think Ebb and Flow (or Flood) are good names for Grail-A and Grail-B because the Moon's gravity is the reason we have high tides and low tides. We thought it would be good to have names that represent something very important about the moon and what it causes to happen on Earth. Grail-A and Grail-B are on a journey just like the Moon is on a journey around Earth."


"The 28 students of Nina DiMauro's class at the Emily Dickinson Elementary School have really hit the nail on the head. We were really impressed that the students drew their inspiration by researching GRAIL and its goal of measuring gravity. Ebb and Flow truly capture the spirit and excitement of our mission."
Maria Zuber
GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

"With submissions from all over the United States and even some from abroad, there were a lot of great entries to review. This contest generated a great deal of excitement in classrooms across America, and along with it an opportunity to use that excitement to teach science."
Sally Ride
America's first woman in space and founder of Sally Ride Science in San Diego


The Official Announcment



The Winning Classroom

4th grade class from Emily Dickinson Elementary

About the Contest

In September 2011, twin GRAIL satellites launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to begin their journey to the Moon. Before the spacecraft reached their destination, the GRAIL team had another mission to accomplish: naming the satellites, which at that time were called GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B. NASA, JPL, and Sally Ride Science called on U.S. students to tap into their creativity and mission knowledge to rename the satellites.

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 which began in October 2011.

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