NASA’s GRACE FO mission to initiate from May 19 onwards. GRACE stands for the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On. The job of the GRACE FO is to measure the gravitational field of the Earth with unmatchable accuracy.
The study will employ the use of the new technique known as the laser ranging interferometry. The laser ranging interferometry consists of the two satellites which make up the five-year mission. Its role is to chart the gravitational anomalies. The target precision set for the laser ranging interferometry is that it must be ten times more accurate than the previous GRACE mission.
The earlier GRACE mission was shut off in October 2017. Two of its orbiters shut down their operations before marking its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in a controlled manner. The German/America project was launched in the year 2002. It consisted of two spacecraft called GRACE-1 and GRACE-2. It was observed that they flew in close formation in the low-Earth orbit.
The pair of the GRACE-1 and the GRACE-2 uses the microwave ranging system. With the aid of the microwave ranging system, the couple of GRACE-1 and GRACE-2 measures the distance between the two. It then combines with the GPS tracking data, Star Trackers’ attitude data, and finally an accelerometer. The combination of the previous leads to the elimination of the atmospheric drag, orbital decay, and solar-wind pressure. The removal of all these would provide a precise record of the velocity of the pair of the GRACE-1 and GRACE-2 and also the distance which separates them.
This might furnish the scientists with the measurement of the speed up and the slow-down concerning the Earth’s mass beneath them. Theses anomalies resemble the x-rays within the planet’s interior surface. It follows the spacecraft’s mapping of the mountains, magma shift below the Earth’s crust, effects of the Earthquakes, and finally the flow of the water and the ice sheets across the globe.
Kirk McKenzie says, “With GRACE-FO, we are taking something cutting-edge from the lab and making it ready for space flight.”
The new technology is predicted to help the future projects of the NASA to achieve the resolutions of more than 200 mi in diameters.
We wish a very GOOD LUCK for the GRACE FO and the entire research community involved here.