MOSCOW, 15 Nov – RIA Novosti. Engineers and scientists of NASA and the Airbus has completed Assembly of the first probe GRACE-FO, a couple of which will be taken into Earth orbit in December 2017 or January 2018, according to the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA.
A pair of probes GRACE was launched from the Russian cosmodrome Plesetsk in March 2002. The main purpose of these machines was to compile accurate gravitational map of the Earth. Now scientists are using satellites”twins” to monitor the condition of the ice caps, and other climatological purposes, as well as constant observation of the distribution of mass in the bowels of the Earth.
New probes, named GRACE-FO will be equipped with the same climatological and gravimetric tools as their predecessors, with more modern sensors and more sophisticated software.
As “twins” GRACE, these probes will measure the Earth’s gravity, watching how the distance between them at the moment of passing over certain points of the planet’s surface with an accuracy of one micron (millionth of a meter).
As accurate measurements for scientists in order to follow the move “irregular” sources of attraction – ice arrays, the water in the oceans, air and even liquid rock in the Earth’s mantle. Recently such observations, for example, helped to find out that the Australian continent is literally “reeling” for a couple millimeters to the side of the North-West and South-East as a result of accumulation and melting of snow in Europe and Asia.
Replacement probes GRACE, the timing of which is coming to an end, will help NASA and scientists from around the world to follow the shrinking ice caps of the Earth and how the situation with droughts in the middle East, in California and in other parts of the world, experiencing problems with access to water in recent years.
Current plans of NASA probes GRACE-FO will work in orbit for at least five years, daily receiving data on the atmospheric composition and distribution of various substances in it, and also getting each month update the gravity map of the planet. In addition to NASA, the project development involved the German aerospace center (DLR) and German research institutes.