On July 2, NASA successfully launched its first satellite dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission—operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory—will soon provide atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements from thousands of points all over the planet. Last week, the satellite reached its proper orbit—meaning that it is now beginning to return its first data to Earth.
August 11, 2014
The view from space
Dr. Christian Frankenberg has been a Research Scientist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2010. He develops software algorithms to retrieve information about carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) instrument, which was launched in July 2014.
August 11, 2014
NASA Carbon Counter Reaches Final Orbit, Returns Data
Just over a month after launch, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide -- has maneuvered into its final operating orbit and produced its first science data, confirming the health of its science instrument.
July 30, 2014
Straggler to the A-Train
Carbon dioxide sources and sinks can now be measured from space at high resolution since the Orbital Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) successfully joined a constellation of six Earth-observing satellites, on 2 July.
July 24, 2014
Making Science Useful
Karen Yuen is the Science Data Applications Lead for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission and has been with NASA for over 12 years. Working closely with the science team, she helps devise ways in which the mission’s scientific data can be used by people within the wider community ranging from researchers from other agencies to the citizen scientist. Previously, Yuen managed the mission’s education and public outreach activities.
July 23, 2014
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 – Opportunities for Deep Carbon Research
NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) was finally successfully launched on 2 July 2014 from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. This event marks not only the successful completion of unfinished business after the tragic January 2009 loss of the first OCO (the fairing protecting the observatory atop the launch vehicle didn’t separate).
July 11, 2014
Earth Right Now Shareables on Flickr
Love your Earth Right Now (ERN) Shareables? You can now find them all in one place! The ERN Team has consolidated all the Shareables from the beginning of the campaign to present on the Earth Vital Signs Flickr Page. New ones will be added as they come out. OCO-2 is proudly one of the five exciting NASA Earth Science Missions featured. Come check out the progression of this exciting campaign and NASA's dedication to studying our home planet!
July 5, 2014
A newly launched satellite will reveal even more about the planet’s workings than originally planned.
July 3, 2014
OCO-2 joins the A-Train to study Earth’s atmosphere
Every day, above our planet, five Earth-observing satellites rush along like trains on the same “track,” flying minutes, and sometimes seconds, behind one another.
July 2, 2014
NASA Launches Carbon Mission to Watch Earth Breathe
NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. PDT) Wednesday.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the observatory separated from the rocket's second stage into an initial 429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit. The spacecraft then performed a series of activation procedures, established communications with ground controllers and unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays. Initial telemetry shows the spacecraft is in excellent condition.
When plants photosynthesize, they use energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide from the air into sugars used to live and grow. In doing so, they give off a fluorescent light — a glow that can’t be seen with the naked eye, but that can be seen with the right instruments. More photosynthesis translates into more fluorescence, meaning that the plants are very productive in taking up carbon dioxide. The amount of carbon dioxide taken up by plants is called “gross primary productivity,” and is the largest part of the global carbon cycle.
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