Saturday, November 30, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
GOCE completes its mission
After nearly tripling its planned lifetime, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has completed its mission and will soon reenter our atmosphere.
With a sleek, aerodynamic design responsible for it being dubbed the ‘Ferrari of space’, GOCE has mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with extreme detail. Scientists further exploited these data to create the first global high-resolution map of the boundary between Earth’s crust and mantle – called the Moho – and to detect sound waves from the massive earthquake that hit Japan on 11 March 2011, among other results.
In mid-October, the mission came to a natural end when it ran out of fuel and the satellite began its descent towards Earth from a height of about 224 km.
All of the latest information on the mission’s scientific results and reentry can be found here:
8 November 2013
Reentry of GOCE into Earth’s atmosphere is predicted to occur during the night between Sunday and Monday. Break-up of the spacecraft will occur at an altitude of approximately 80 km. At the moment, the exact time and location of where the fragments will land cannot be foreseen.
The estimate is based on the results of detailed analysis, taking in to account a number of changeable factors including spacecraft orientation, the functioning of the attitude control system, as well as solar and geomagnetic activity.
Updated predictions will be communicated on this page and in the related blog.