In the past twenty years, satellite gravimetry missions have successfully provided data for the determination of the Earth static gravity field (GOCE) and its temporal variations (GRACE and GRACE-FO). In particular, the possibility to study the evolution in time of Earth masses allows us to monitor global parameters underlying climate changes, water resources, flooding, melting of ice masses and the corresponding global sea level rise, all of which are of paramount importance, providing basic data on, e.g. geodynamics, earthquakes, hydrology or ice sheets changes. Recently, a large interest has developed in novel technologies and quantum sensing, which promise higher sensitivity, drift-free measurements, and higher absolute accuracy for both terrestrial surveys and space missions, giving direct access to more precise long-term measurements. Looking at a time frame beyond the present decade, in the MOCAST+ study (MOnitoring mass variations by Cold Atom Sensors and Time measures) a satellite mission based on an “enhanced” quantum payload is proposed, with cold atom interferometers acting as gravity gradiometers, and atomic clocks for optical frequency measurements, providing observations of differences of the gravitational potential. The main outcomes are the definition of the accuracy level to be expected from this payload and the accuracy level needed to detect and monitor phenomena identified in the Scientific Challenges of the ESA Living Planet Program, in particular Cryosphere, Ocean and Solid Earth. In this paper, the proposed payload, mission profile and preliminary platform design are presented, with end-to-end simulation results and assessment of the impact on geophysical applications.

The MOCAST+ Study on a Quantum Gradiometry Satellite Mission with Atomic Clocks

Braitenberg, Carla;Pivetta, Tommaso;Pastorutti, Alberto;
2023-01-01

Abstract

In the past twenty years, satellite gravimetry missions have successfully provided data for the determination of the Earth static gravity field (GOCE) and its temporal variations (GRACE and GRACE-FO). In particular, the possibility to study the evolution in time of Earth masses allows us to monitor global parameters underlying climate changes, water resources, flooding, melting of ice masses and the corresponding global sea level rise, all of which are of paramount importance, providing basic data on, e.g. geodynamics, earthquakes, hydrology or ice sheets changes. Recently, a large interest has developed in novel technologies and quantum sensing, which promise higher sensitivity, drift-free measurements, and higher absolute accuracy for both terrestrial surveys and space missions, giving direct access to more precise long-term measurements. Looking at a time frame beyond the present decade, in the MOCAST+ study (MOnitoring mass variations by Cold Atom Sensors and Time measures) a satellite mission based on an “enhanced” quantum payload is proposed, with cold atom interferometers acting as gravity gradiometers, and atomic clocks for optical frequency measurements, providing observations of differences of the gravitational potential. The main outcomes are the definition of the accuracy level to be expected from this payload and the accuracy level needed to detect and monitor phenomena identified in the Scientific Challenges of the ESA Living Planet Program, in particular Cryosphere, Ocean and Solid Earth. In this paper, the proposed payload, mission profile and preliminary platform design are presented, with end-to-end simulation results and assessment of the impact on geophysical applications.
2023
15-feb-2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3040500
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