Navigation Links
GOCE's second mission improving gravity map
Date:11/16/2012

ESA's GOCE gravity satellite has already delivered the most accurate gravity map of Earth, but its orbit is now being lowered in order to obtain even better results.

The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has been orbiting Earth since March 2009, reaching its ambitious objective to map our planet's gravity with unrivalled precision.

Although the planned mission has been completed, the fuel consumption was much lower than anticipated because of the low solar activity over the last two years. This has enabled ESA to extend GOCE's life, improving the quality of the gravity model.

To be able to measure the strength of Earth's gravity, the satellite was flying in an extraordinarily low orbit about 255 km high about 500 km lower than most Earth observation satellites.

Based on a clear preference from the GOCE user community, ESA's Earth Scientific Advisory Committee recommended lowering the orbit to 235 km starting in August.

Lowering the orbit increases the accuracy and resolution of GOCE's measurements, improving our view of smaller ocean dynamics such as eddy currents.

The control team began the manoeuvres in August, lowering GOCE by about 300 m per day.

After coming down by 8.6 km, the satellite's performance and new environment were assessed. Now, GOCE is again being lowered while continuing its gravity mapping. Finally, it is expected to reach 235 km in February.

As the orbit drops, atmospheric drag increasingly pulls the satellite towards Earth. But GOCE was designed to fly low, the tiny thrust of its ion engine continuously compensating for any drag.

The expected increase in data quality is so high that scientists are calling it GOCE's 'second mission.'

"For us at ESA, GOCE has been a fantastic mission and it continues to surprise us," said Volker Liebig, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programmes.

"What the team of ESA engineers is now doing has not been done before and it poses a challenge. But it will also trigger new research in the field of gravity based on the high-resolution data we are expecting."

The first 'geoid' based on GOCE's gravity measurements was unveiled in June 2010. It is the surface of an ideal global ocean in the absence of tides and currents, shaped only by gravity.

A geoid is a crucial reference for conducting precise measurements of ocean circulation, sea-level change and ice dynamics.

The mission has also been providing new insight into air density and wind in space, and its information was recently used to produce the first global high-resolution map of the boundary between Earth's crust and mantle.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Meisner
robert.meisner@esa.int
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Second most common infection in the US proving harder to treat with current antibiotics
2. Nanoengineers can print 3D microstructures in mere seconds
3. Dinosaur die-out might have been second of 2 closely timed extinctions
4. Evermedia Group Announces 375% Increase in Revenue for Second Quarter 2012
5. Aware, Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2012 Financial Results
6. NOAA plankton surveys, second longest in the North Atlantic, add to new global effort
7. U-M forecasters predict second-smallest Gulf of Mexico dead zone
8. Second Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting to take place in Jordan
9. Second-generation drug used for hypertension aids heart function independent of blood pressure
10. USDA patents method to reduce ammonia emissions
11. Agriculture & food production contribute up to 29 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 The Department of Transport ... the 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost ... to a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global ... By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", ... 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing security ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a ... the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making ... aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the ... today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both ... physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Liquid Biotech USA , Inc. ... Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ("PENN") ... patients.  The funding will be used to assess ... outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety of ... to support the design of a therapeutic, decision-making ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a ... susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination ... The new test has already been incorporated into ... cancer types. Over 230 clinical trials ... pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in ... Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio ... practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how ...
Breaking Biology Technology: