Mass Change (MC)

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NASA has begun planning for the implementation of the recommendations National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) 2017 Decadal Survey, “Thriving on Our Changing Planet: A Decadal Strategy for Earth Observations from Space” by conducting observing system architecture studies. Mass change is identified as a Designated Observable, and the decadal survey recommends a mass change mission to continue the observational record of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO) missions.

In response to guidance for multi-center study plans issued by NASA in June 2018, the NASA’s Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (lead) and Langley Research Center submitted a joint study plan to the NASA Earth Science Division for the Mass Change Measurement System.

The mass change study has three main objectives, namely:

  1. Identify and characterize a diverse set of high-value mass change observing architectures responsive to the decadal strategy report’s scientific and application objectives for mass change.
  2. Assess the cost effectiveness of each of the studied architectures.
  3. Perform sufficient in-depth design of one or two select architectures to enable rapid initiation of a phase-A study.

To accomplish these objectives, the study team, which also includes NASA Headquarters, will harness expertise and information from across the Earth science spectrum of research, applications, technology, mission formulation and implementation, as well as across the major stakeholder organizations in government (NASA and non-NASA), academia and industry.


Current Science and Applications Traceability Matrix (SATM)

The Mass Change Study Team has released the final version of the Science and Applications Traceability Matrix. 


Presentations and Other Materials


How to Join the MC Working Group

Send email to Someone from MC will coordinate whether requester should be added to working group.


Related Events

AGU Fall 2020 Meeting
Dec. 1-17, 2020
AGU Fall 2020 registration is required to open links.

Mass Change will be participating in AGU 2020 in two separate activities. Several members of the Mass Change team will be participating in each activity.

April 13 and 17, 2020: MCDO Phase 2 Community Telecon

The Mass Change Designated Observable (MCDO) study hosted two community telecons in April 2020. The purpose of the telecons was to provide a status update to the community on recent progress made by the Mass Change Designated Observable Study team, as well as to address community questions. Topics covered were discussions on the observing systems under consideration, methods for determining science value, and an overview of the value framework to score the overall value of each observing system. The presentation, attendance and Q&As at each session can be found above at Presentations and Other Materials.

December 12, 2019: Mass Change Designated Observables Study Town Hall, 2019 AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco

The Mass Change study team will host a Mass Change Designated Observables Study Town Hall at the AGU 2019 Fall Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. (PT). Details are available on the AGU website.

July 30-August 1, 2019: MC Study Community Workshop (Agenda) (Report)

The MC Study will hold three community telecons, separated by scientific discipline, focused on the further refinement of the Mass Change Designated Observable Science and Applications Traceability Matrix.  If you would like to attend any of the scheduled telecons, please send an e-mail requesting an invitation. The schedule is as follows:

Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. EST: Earth Surface and Interior
Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. EST: Global Hydrological Cycle and Water Resources
Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. EST: Climate Variability and Change

Mass Change Applications Survey


Advertised opportunities (RFIs)

Mass Change working group does not plan any RFIs beyond those posted by headquarters.

Join email list for updates


Schedule for studies underway



Bernard Bienstock, Mass Change Study Coordnator

Victor Zlotnicki, Mass Change Communications Working Group Lead


For more information