Taking gravity from strength to strength
20 March 2019
Ten years ago, ESA launched one of its most innovative satellites. GOCE spent four years measuring a fundamental force of nature: gravity. This extraordinary mission not only yielded new insights into our gravity field, but led to some amazing discoveries about our planet, from deep below the surface to high up in the atmosphere and beyond. And, this remarkable mission continues to realise new science today.
Because of factors such as the planet's rotation, the position of mountains and ocean trenches and different densities in materials in Earth's interior, the force of gravity at Earth's surface varies from place to place.
Mapping these differences is important for measuring ocean circulation, sea-level change and for understanding otherwise hidden processes occurring deep inside the planet, for example.