The European Space Agency’s Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer(GOCE) satellite has revealed the the most accurate gravitational field map of the earth ever produced, which will be used to further our understanding of how Earth works.
The satellite was launched in March 2009 carrying a highly sensitive gravity gradiometer which detects fine density differences in the crust and oceans of the Earth.
The final gravity map and model of the geoid will provide users worldwide with well-defined data product that will lead to:
- A better understanding of the physics of the Earth’s interior to gain new insights into the geodynamics associated with the lithosphere, mantle composition and rheology, uplift and subduction processes.
- A better understanding of the ocean currents and heat transport.
- A global height-reference system, which can serve as a reference surface for the study of topographic processes and sea-level change.
- Better estimates of the thickness of polar ice-sheets and their movement.