- August 28, 2008
- Posted by: EARSC
- Category: EARSC News
(28 August 2008)On 10 September 2008 ESA plans to launch the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE), a sophisticated satellite that will investigate the Earth’s gravitational field and map the reference shape of our planet with unprecedented resolution and accuracy.
The spacecraft is composed by six high-sensitivity accelerometers to measure the components of the gravity field along all three axes. The data collected will be used as a much better reference for ocean and climate studies, including sea-level changes, oceanic circulation and ice caps dynamics survey.
To make this mission possible, the satellite has to orbit the Earth close enough to gather high-accuracy gravitational data while being able to filter out disturbances caused by the remaining traces of the atmosphere in low Earth orbit.
In 1999, ESA has undertaken the Earth Explorer programme to foster research on the Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and interior, on their interactions and on the impact of human activities on these natural processes. GOCE is the first Core Mission in a whole series of Earth Explorer missions. Two more Core Missions, selected to address specific topics of major public concern are already under development and three smaller Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions are also in preparation.
The public can follow the video transmission of the launch of GOCE at: www.esa.int/goce.
More information at: www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMNVU3G6KF_index_0.html