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Waspie_Dwarf

ESA’s GOCE mission comes to an end

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ESA’s GOCE mission comes to an end

21 October 2013

After mapping variations in Earth’s gravity with unprecedented detail for four years, the GOCE satellite has run out of fuel and the end of mission has been declared.

Since March 2009, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has been orbiting Earth at the lowest altitude of any research satellite.

Its ‘gradiometer’ – the sensitive instrument measuring gravity in 3D – was the first in space and has mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision. The result is a unique model of the ‘geoid’, which is essentially the shape of an ideal global ocean at rest and therefore critical for accurate measurements of ocean circulation and sea-level change.

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