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Research group | Precision Geodesy on Earth and in Space

Gravity field mission GOCE by ESA. Image: European Space Agency ESA

The research group “Precision Geodesy on Earth and in Space” investigates measurements from high-precision sensors onboard geodetic satellites, such as onboard accelerometers and ranging between satellites down to the micrometer to nanometer level of precision. Measurements are used to reveal deformation of the earth and mass re-distribution within the earth system, and to model space-time variations of the earth’s gravitational field. One of the challenges is to improve the understanding of forces and disturbances acting on the satellites, and of onboard laboratory conditions to the required level of precision. Analysis includes data from the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) and GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) gravity field satellite missions, and results are being used to improve the design of future missions within the Task Group “Next Generation Gravity Field Missions”.

To measure earth dynamics and gravity variations on a much more local scale, a new laboratory for terrestrial gravity sensors is in preparation at the site of the GEO 600 gravitational wave detector in Ruthe close to Hanover.