The folks over at NASA seem to have pulled yet another rabbit out of the proverbial hat, and this time around it would not involve sending a human being to space, but rather, to launch a satellite that will measure the average amount of CO2 above a location on Earth, which happens to be different from just about all of the other measurements of CO2. This particular satellite’s job is to collect such data that will assist the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to be able to have a more accurate reading on the exact amount of carbon that is being released into the atmosphere.
I guess you can more or less call this a peace time satellite, since that is all it does – measure CO2 up there in the atmosphere. Known as the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2 if you would like to save some breath, it will continuously orbit the Earth as it does its job, measuring and mapping carbon emissions along the way. Since approximately half of the carbon that rises into the atmosphere will fall back to Earth before being absorbed, the OCO-2 intends to assist scientists in studying this process so that climatologists will be able to gain a better understanding on how oceans, soils and forests play their roles when it comes to releasing and absorbing carbon dioxide.
All the best to this $465 million mission!