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GOCE – a seriously sexy satellite…

Satellites are pretty ugly things. It’s not their fault; high up above the Earth’s atmosphere, orbiting the Earth in the vacuum of space, they don’t have to be streamlined or aesthetically-attractive or even remotely pleasing to the eye. They just need to be functional. They just need to work. That’s why they look like this…


… and this…


… and this…


But later today a new European Space Agency scientific satellite will be carried into orbit that is just plain gorgeous! Meet GOCE…


Oh, how beautiful is that? It looks more like a Star Wars space cruiser, or an alien ship from Farscape! Is something that streamlined and shiny and pretty really going to do science up there? Well, yes it is. From the ESA website:

GOCE is dedicated to measuring Earth’s gravity field and modelling the geoid with unprecedented accuracy and spatial resolution. Data from this advanced gravity mission will improve our knowledge of ocean circulation, which plays a crucial role in energy exchanges around the globe, sea-level change and Earth-interior processes. GOCE will also help to make significant advances in geodesy and surveying.

So, yes, it is going to be doing serious science, in fact it’s a very important mission indeed, which will help us model the climate – and climate change – much better, and give us a better understanding of gravity and the planet we live on.Β  But to be honest, and I’ll admit it, it’s very shallow of me, I’m more impressed by how it looks, especially when you see images like this…


I mean, come on, has a serious scientific satellite got any right to look that beautiful?! It’s just wrong! Satellites are supposed to be, well, boring, covered in aerials and struts and booms and boxes n stuff… that’s just… well, beautiful! πŸ™‚

It looks like a Battlestar on that picture, so how big is it really? This image shows you:


Ah, not quite as big as a Battlestar then, but still, it’s a pretty impressive size. And it has to be the favourite to win the title of “Best Looking Satellite Ever”, don’t you think?

Launch is scheduled, I believe, for around 2.15 this afternoon… when I’ll be at work, of course, great timing, so fingers crossed all goes well. I’d hate for GOCE to be transformed from that into a falling shower of a billion tinkling pieces.

More on the GOCE mission here: http://www.esa.int/esaLP/LPgoce.html

Update: Not that I’m not grateful for your visits, everyone’s welcome here, but I’m genuinely puzzled how come so many people are still reading this entry almost a month after I wrote it! Where are you all coming from?!? πŸ™‚ Let me know! Drop me a line at STUARTATK@aol.com. Thanks! πŸ™‚


7 Responses

  1. […] GOCE has finally been launched after a number of delays! You can read more about this here, here, and […]

  2. You are a noob. That’s not sexy. It’s just rendered better.

    • Always nice to hear a constructive comment from a passing troll with nothing better to do than absolutely Miss The Point of a post. Thanks for stopping by, please close the door properly on your way out. πŸ™‚

  3. Good day

    I really like this site and photos.
    Can I download the pictures on this page? Can I use them publicly?

    Thank you for your reply,

  4. […] GOCE, probably the most beautiful robot geologist around. GOCE is a European Space Agency satellite and like a lot of satellites, […]

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