EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The space-wise approach for cold-atom interferometry geodetic data analysis: the MOCASS study

Federica Migliaccio, Mirko Reguzzoni, and Khulan Batsukh
Federica Migliaccio et al.
  • Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Ambientale, DICA, Milano, Italy (

In recent years, an innovative mission concept has been proposed for gravity measurements with the aim of continuously monitoring the Earth gravity and its changes. The concept is based on a satellite-borne interferometer exploiting ultra-cold atom technology. Among other studies, a team of researchers from Italian universities and research institutions proposed and carried out the MOCASS project, to investigate the performance of a cold atom interferometer flying on a low Earth orbiter and its impact on the modeling of different geophysical phenomena.

In this study, the basic idea was that of a GOCE follow-on mission, with a unique spacecraft carrying an instrument capable of measuring functionals of the Earth gravitational potential. The geodetic data analysis of the gravity gradient data attainable by such a mission was carried out following the space-wise approach developed at Politecnico di Milano. The mathematical model for the processing of the MOCASS data was formulated, including the filtering strategy applied to take into account the cold atom interferometer transfer function. Numerical simulations were performed, with different configurations of the satellite orbit and pointing mode of the interferometer; data were simulated for two cases: (i) a single-arm gradiometer observing Txx or Tyy or Tzz gradients; (ii) a double-arm gradiometer observing Txx and Tzz gradients or Tyy and Tzz gradients. The results of the simulations will be illustrated, showing the applicability of the proposed concept and the neat improvement in modeling the static gravity field with respect to GOCE.

Moreover, a new study called MOCAST+ has been lately started proposing an enhanced cold atom interferometer which can deliver not only gravity gradients but also time measurements. The study will investigate whether this could give the possibility of improving the estimation of gravity models even at low harmonic degrees, with inherent advantages in the modeling of mass transport and its global variations: this will represent fundamental information, e.g. in the study of variations in the hydrological cycle and relative mass exchange between atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere and solid Earth.

How to cite: Migliaccio, F., Reguzzoni, M., and Batsukh, K.: The space-wise approach for cold-atom interferometry geodetic data analysis: the MOCASS study, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21546,, 2020

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