GOCE completes mission

GOCE in orbit

After nearly tripling its planned lifetime, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – is nearing its end of 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 will come to a natural end when it runs out of fuel and the satellite begins its descent towards Earth from a height of about 224 km.

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