A Review of Different Mascon Approaches for Regional Gravity Field Modelling since 1968
- Institute of Geodesy, University of Stuttgart, Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 24D, D-70174 Stuttgart, Germany
Abstract. The geodetic and geophysical literature shows an abundance of mascon approaches for modelling the gravity field of Moon or Earth on global or regional scale. This article illustrates the differences and similarities of the methods, which are labelled as mascon approaches by their authors.
Point mass mascons and planar disc mascons were developed for modelling the Lunar gravity field from Doppler tracking data. These early models had to consider restrictions in observation geometry, computational resources or geographical pre-knowledge, which influenced the implementation. Mascon approaches were later adapted and applied for the analysis of GRACE-observations of the Earth’s gravity field with the most recent methods based on the simple layer potential.
Differences among the methods relate to the geometry of the mascon patches and in the implementation of the gradient and potential for the field analysis and synthesis. Most mascon approaches provide a direct link between observation and mascon parameter –usually the surface density or the mass of an element–, while some methods serve as a post processing tool of spherical harmonic solutions. This article provides an historical overview of the different mascon approaches and sketches their properties from theoretical perspective.
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