SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Kepler Launch, Mars Moon, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Kepler Launch, Mars Moon, More
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March 9, 2009--Long and sleek--for a satellite anyway--the European Space Agency's GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) craft, shown in an illustration released Monday, is intended to survey Earth's gravitational field with unprecedented accuracy.

The 16-foot-long (5-meter-long) satellite is scheduled to launch on March 16. Its data are expected to help improve measurements of sea level and ocean circulation, as well as to sharpen our knowledge of forces inside the planet linked to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

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—Illustration courtesy ESA/AOES Medialab
 
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