ESA's GOCE satellite has measured Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision, creating an exact ‘geoid' map showing gravity measurements over the Earth. The geoid, which shows how a uniform surface is disproportionately distorted by gravity changes, was unveiled at the Fourth International GOCE User Workshop at the Technische Universitat Munchen in Munich, Germany.

The geoid offers a critical reference for measuring ocean circulation, sea level change, and ice dynamics. The gravity data also helps understand earthquakes processes.

"They show that GOCE will give us dynamic topography and circulation patterns of the oceans with unprecedented quality and resolution. I am confident that these results will help improve our understanding of the dynamics of world oceans."

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Launched in March 2009, GOCE has collected more than 12-months of gravity data, and will provide updated maps on a continuous basis throughout the rest of its mission life around the end of 2012.

GOCE’s gradiometer uses six super sensitive accelerometers to measure gravity in 3D while orbiting at the lowest altitude (150 miles, 250km) of any observation satellite. The 5m (16.4ft) long, one-ton (1.1 US tons) satellite uses an ion engine to compensate for any atmospheric drag and then makes precise gravity measurements.

Via Space Daily & Guardian UK

Via:www.greenmuze. соm

Eco Info