NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to reach orbit after its 4:55 a.m. EST liftoff February 24, 2009 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. Initial indications are that the structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere. on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate.
The Taurus XL rocket carrying the Orbiting Carbon Observatory a 986-pound global warming detection satellite (see NC Jan. 31, 2009 post below.) was supposed to be placed into a polar orbit some 400 miles high to track carbon dioxide emissions. The project was nine years in the making, and the mission was supposed to last two years.
It is a sad setback to finding out the carbon sinks around the world. Today scientists rely on 282 land-based stations and scattered instrumented aircraft flights to monitor carbon dioxide at low altitudes. This is a big setback for our understanding and control of emissions.
The observatory was NASA’s first satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide on a global scale. Measurements collected from the $280 million mission were expected to improve climate models and help researchers determine where the greenhouse gas originates and how much is being absorbed by forests and oceans.
Last month, Japan successfully launched the world’s first satellite to monitor global warming emissions.
Why was this satellite so important?
Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas and its buildup helps trap heat from the sun, causing potentially dangerous warming of the planet. Why is carbon dioxide so important to us? nasa.gov/mission
Excerpts courtesy of Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com/sci_carbon_satellit
Refer to Nature’s Crusaders post nc2009/01/29/nasas-new-spac…r-carbon-sinks
Image courtesy of Geology.com nasa/human-carbon-dioxide/orbiting-carbon-observatory
Excerpts courtesy of Nasa.gov
The Mystery of the Missing Sinks January 23. 2009 nasa.gov/mission
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory And The Mystery Of The Missing Sinks – Staff Pasadena CA (JPL) January 28, 2009.