GRACE-inspired question

From: Jonathan T Wojack (
Date: Wed Jun 05 2002 - 11:14:40 EDT

The GRACE satellite twins are circling the Earth, and are monitoring each
others' position with extreme accuracy in an attempt to (in part) more
precisely measure the differences in Earth's gravity field.  My question
is this:  could the same data be acquired by very closely monitoring the
orbit(s) of satellite(s) at many ground stations around the world
(perhaps you could also measure the Doppler shifts of its radio signals)
?  But I suppose there is also the question of an unknown atmospheric
density to the required degree of precision; the GRACE satellites will
both be affected by the atmosphere essentially equally.  Drag could
conceivably be confused with a gravimetric gradient.

Jonathan Wojack

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