Follow GRACE through the years with some selected highlights of the mission. GRACE is a joint NASA-German Aerospace Center endeavor.


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2014 - GRACE Provides Hope for Water in Aral Sea Basin

A new study using GRACE data finds that, although the long-term water picture for the Aral Sea watershed in Central Asia remains bleak, short-term prospects are better than previously thought.

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2013 - Middle East Water Woes as seen by GRACE

A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

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2012 - The Gravity of Water

The GRACE mission offers a novel and much needed view of Earth’s water supplies.

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2011 - GRACE + Jason + Sea Level

Using data from both the Jason and GRACE missions reveals how Earth's water cycle impacts sea level on a global scale.

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2010 - Measuring water storage in the amazon

The amount of water stored in the Amazon basin varies from month to month, and can be monitored from space by looking at how it alters Earth's gravity field. This series of images was produced using data from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and shows month-to-month water mass changes (relative to a three-year average) over the Amazon and neighboring regions.

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2009 - Groundwater loss in northwest India

GRACE observes a major loss of groundwater in NW India (Rodell, Velicogna and Famiglietti, 2009, Nature). The map shows the region over which the spatial average is taken, and the curves show the total water content of the soil, as well as its components (derived using a numerical hydrologic model).

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2008 - Water storage anomalies in the Mississippi Basin

The combination of GRACE and in--situ data, a numerical hydrologic model, and the mathematical technique of 'data assimilation' permits to separate the total water content observed by GRACE into the various vertical components.

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2007 - GRACE Graces Discover Magazine

March 2007. The pair of GRACE satellites map subtle variations in Earth’s gravitational field, revealing secret craters, undersea mountains, and the impact of climate change.

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2006 - GRACE reveals gravity changes from Sumatran earthquake

This figure is a composite image from GRACE satellite data showing the gravity changes for the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in December 2004. (Image courtesy of Shin-Chan Han, Ohio State University).

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2006 - Ice mass loss on Greenland revealed by GRACE

This figure shows the ice mass loss in Antarctica as observed by Grace over the period 2002-2005 (see browse image) measured in cubic kilometers per year. The ice mass loss observed contributes about 0.4 millimeters (.016 inches) per year to global sea level rise. Image credit: University of Colorado.

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2005 - Amazon Basin seasonal water changes

GRACE monitors month-to-month variations in water flowing through the Amazon Basin by measuring its effects on gravity. Orange, red and pink show where gravity is higher than average. Green, blue and purple show where gravity is lower than average.

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2004 - CHAMP/GRACE science

An early joint GRACE and CHAMP science team meeting.

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2003 - Earth's gravity field

An early image released from GRACE graphically illustrates the sensitivity of the measurement to changes in the distance between the mission's twin spacecraft in response to changes in Earth's gravity.


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2002 - GRACE launches

Both GRACE satellites were launched simultaneously with a ROCKOT launch vehicle from Plesetsk/Russia on March 17, 2002. The GRACE orbit is almost polar (i=89.0°) and near circular (e<0.005) and started with an initial altitude of 500 km. The anticipated lifetime for scientific operations was 5 years. The mission is still producing highly precise measurements of Earth's gravity field over 9 years later. Click here (QuickTime, 5.62 MB) to view the GRACE launch and a simulation of the release of the satellites from the fairing.


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2002 - From Russia with love

Members of the GRACE team prepare for launch on site in Plesetsk, Russia. From left; JPLers Phil Morton, Garth Franklin, Jennifer Rocca, and Charlie Dunn, along with colleagues from Astrium.

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2002 - JPL Team

You can't talk about a mission without meeting some of the people that make it happen. JPL GRACE Team circa 2002.

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