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:3/20/2017)... HANOVER, Germany , March 20, 2017 At ... Hamburg -based biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the ... Japan is this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest ... important biometrics in use: fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as ... ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made in Germany "  ... ... multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity fraud. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... Australia , March 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop at the ... Fouras , was invited to deliver the latest data ... This globally recognised event brings together leaders at the ... latest developments in lung imaging. "The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... Md. , March 24, 2017  Infectex Ltd., ... (MBVF), today announced positive results of a Phase 2b-3 ... therapy regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis (MDR-TB). ... scientists at Sequella, Inc. ( USA ) ... A total of 140 patients were enrolled in ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 Agenus Inc. ... immune checkpoint antibodies and cancer vaccines, today announced participation ... 7 th  Annual William Blair and Maidstone Life Sciences ... Alexandria Center in New York, NY ... March 29 at 9:40 am: Robert B. ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017  SeraCare Life Sciences, ... in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and clinical laboratories, ... first multiplexed Inherited Cancer reference material ... by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseqâ„¢ Inherited Cancer ... input from industry experts to validate the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... NEW YORK , March 23, 2017 ... ... causes of death, putting significant strain on health care systems, ... of cancer diagnoses rises, so too does the development of ... with minimum side effects. Among the many types of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: