The Earth's gravity field

DTU Space measures and devises models of the Earth’s gravity field. This can help to identify hidden occurrences of oil, water or minerals in the Earth’s substratum and improve the accuracy of GPS navigation.

Variations in the gravity field across the Earth’s surface affect measurements of the planet, regardless of whether the measurements are taken from satellites, aircraft or on dry land. Only when the variation is known, is it possible to correct for the effect of such variations on measurements. Extremely precise measurements of the gravity field are needed to refine the accuracy of satellite navigation systems such as GPS and the future European Galileo system. At the same time, these measurements can identify hidden occurrences of oil, water and other minerals in the Earth’s substratum.

The Institute’s measurements of the Earth’s gravity field are taken on land and aboard satellites and aircraft. DTU Space also contributes towards ESA’s satellite mission GOCE by developing methods for using the mission’s gravity field measurements, among other things to map the Earth’s ocean currents.

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Earth's gravity field.

Facts on Earth's Gravity Field

The Earth's gravity varies across the ground surface since mass varies under different sections of the ground.

Oil, water and rocks, for example, have different weights, and measurements of gravity could thus help to identify what is hidden below the substratum.