NASA releases new moon pics requested by students

This image released by NASA on Thursday, March 22, 2012 shows the far side of the moon with Earth in the background. It was among more than 60 images taken by one of NASA's spacecraft in orbit around the moon. The cameras are operated by middle school students as part of a project. AP Photo/NASA

PASADENA, Calif. - A NASA spacecraft in orbit around the moon has sent back five dozen new images of the lunar surface including a view of the far side with Earth in the distance.

Don't thank scientists for it. Fourth-graders from Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Mont., directed the spacecraft to snap pictures as part of a project headed by Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

The images were returned earlier this week.

Twin NASA probes entered lunar orbit over the New Year's weekend on a mission to study the gravity field. During non-critical parts of the mission, select students get to choose camera targets.

The Montana students got first dibs for winning a NASA-sponsored contest that renamed the craft Ebb and Flow.

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