GRAIL gravity field determination using the Celestial Mechanics Approach

Arnold, Daniel; Bertone, Stefano; Jäggi, Adrian; Beutler, Gerhard; Mervart, Leos (2015). GRAIL gravity field determination using the Celestial Mechanics Approach. Icarus, 261, pp. 182-192. Elsevier 10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.015

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The NASA mission GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) inherited its concept from the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission to determine the gravity field of the Moon. We present lunar gravity fields based on the data of GRAIL’s primary mission phase. Gravity field recovery is realized in the framework of the Celestial Mechanics Approach, using a development version of the Bernese GNSS Software along with Ka-band range-rate data series as observations and the GNI1B positions provided by NASA JPL as pseudo-observations. By comparing our results with the official level-2 GRAIL gravity field models we show that the lunar gravity field can be recovered with a high quality by adapting the Celestial Mechanics Approach, even when using pre-GRAIL gravity field models as a priori fields and when replacing sophisticated models of non-gravitational accelerations by appropriately spaced pseudo-stochastic pulses (i.e., instantaneous velocity changes). We present and evaluate two lunar gravity field solutions up to degree and order 200 – AIUB-GRL200A and AIUB-GRL200B. While the first solution uses no gravity field information beyond degree 200, the second is obtained by using the official GRAIL field GRGM900C up to degree and order 660 as a priori information. This reduces the omission errors and demonstrates the potential quality of our solution if we resolved the gravity field to higher degree.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy
08 Faculty of Science > Other Institutions > Emeriti, Faculty of Science

UniBE Contributor:

Arnold, Daniel; Bertone, Stefano; Jäggi, Adrian; Beutler, Gerhard and Mervart, Leos


500 Science > 520 Astronomy








Pierre Fridez

Date Deposited:

21 Sep 2015 11:47

Last Modified:

15 Aug 2017 11:13

Publisher DOI:





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