“Brandenburg is a hub of cutting-edge science”

GFZ-Wissenschaftler Frank Flechtner erklärt US-Botschafter Richard Grenell und Ministerpräsident Dietmar Woidke das Messprinzip des Satellitenduos GRACE Follow-On anhand des Modells. Rechts R. Hüttl (v.l.n.r: Prof. Frank Flechtner, US-Botschafter Richard Grenell, Ministerpräsident Dietmar Woidke, GFZ-Vorstand Prof. Reinhard Hüttl; photo: GFZ).
(Photo: GFZ).
(Photo: GFZ).

The twin satellites of the GRACE Follow-On mission, launched into Earth orbit in May, „showcase the long-term and deep U.S.-German partnership in scientific endeavors“, U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell said during a visit to GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany. This Friday, as a guest of Brandenburg’s State Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke, Ambassador Grenell met with GFZ’s scientific director and scientists to discuss joint projects. He also took a short walk to the Potsdam Telegrafenberg and learned about its rich history in Earth Science.

The Earth observation mission GRACE FO is a joint project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the GFZ, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL, and the German Aerospace Center DLR. The acronym stands for “Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On” – Follow-On because the new mission continues ongoing research of the Earth’s gravity fields. From 2002-2017, two nearly identical GRACE satellites surveyed gravity fields. By looking at the monthly changes, scientists are able for instance to identify groundwater loss with great accuracy, as well as measure ice melting on Greenland and Antarctica. “Brandenburg is a hub of cutting-edge scientific research, and our cooperation and investments in science aim to make the lives of our citizens better. We must continue to work at the state and federal levels in both Germany and the U.S. on science and technology issues”, said Ambassador Grenell.

Brandenburg’s State Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke said: “The GFZ German Centre for Geosciences is an outstanding example of international scientific cooperation. In my view, the joint satellite mission of GFZ and NASA, GRACE Follow-On, is a beacon in our research landscape.“ Mr Woidke thanked Ambassador Grenell for visiting this important historical and scientific site in Brandenburg.

In his statement, Reinhard F. Hüttl, scientific executive director and CEO of GFZ, said,“the scientists and institutions in the United States have always been extremely important partners for the GFZ“. The two decades of cooperation with NASA have yielded many important results. Prof Hüttl added: “During the launch event of GRACE FO, leading NASA scientists told us that this joint mission is seen as one of NASA’s most successful Earth observation missions.” With more than two dozen high-level cooperative projects the U.S. plays a privileged role in the international relations of GFZ. Together with Frank Flechtner, principal investigator of GRACE FO, Reinhard Hüttl presented details of the GRACE and GRACE FO missions as well as other joint projects. In the following conversation all sides agreed on further continuing the already great relationship.


Josef Zens
Media and Communications
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
14473 Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 288-1040

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