Map of the Earth's Gravity



This map, or geoid, shows the contours of the earth in a more precise manner than ever before. It was constructed with measurements taken by Europe's Goce satellite.
Launched in 2009, the sleek satellite flies pole to pole at an altitude of just 254.9km - the lowest orbit of any research satellite in operation today.

The spacecraft carries three pairs of precision-built platinum blocks inside its gradiometer instrument that sense accelerations which are as small as 1 part in 10,000,000,000,000 of the gravity experienced on Earth.

This has allowed it to map the almost imperceptible differences in the pull exerted by the mass of the planet from one place to the next - from the great mountain ranges to the deepest ocean trenches.

Two months of observations have now been fashioned into what scientists call the geoid.

This technology allows mapping of places that were too inaccessible for such precision before, such as the Himalayas. The BBC has a lot more on this project. Link -via TYWKIWDBI

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