The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) was a joint mission between NASA and the German Aerospace Center that studied anomalies in the Earth’s gravity field between 2002 and 2016. The instrument was comprised of a pair of satellites in polar orbit 500 km above the surface of the Earth. The system was capable of detecting 10 µm changes in the separation of the two satellites caused by subtle changes in the Earth’s gravity.
Over the course of its 14-year mission, GRACE measured gravitational changes in Antarctica corresponding to the loss of 125 gigatons of ice per year. The volume lost was estimated to have caused the global sea level to rise by 0.35 mm annually. This animation depicts the spatial distribution of ice loss, particularly in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, over the entire GRACE mission.
The system was decommissioned in October 2017 with the GRACE-2 satellite re-entering the atmosphere on December 24, 2017, and GRACE-1 scheduled for late February 2018. The successor, GRACE-FO, is scheduled to launch in early 2018.
Source: https://goo.gl/Z8RkkT (NASA JPL)
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