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OCO-2 News Articles

  • Checking the First Data from OCO-2 August 21, 2014
    Checking the First Data from OCO-2
    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.Checking the First Data from OCO-2
  • The view from space 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.The view from space
  • NASA Carbon Counter Reaches Final Orbit, Returns Data 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.NASA Carbon Counter Reaches Final Orbit, Returns Data
  • Straggler to the A-Train 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.Straggler to the A-Train
  • Making Science Useful 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.Making Science Useful
  • The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 – Opportunities for Deep Carbon Research 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).The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 – Opportunities for Deep Carbon Research
  • Earth Right Now Shareables on Flickr 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!Earth Right Now Shareables on Flickr
  • Gaia’s breath July 5, 2014
    Gaia’s breath
    A newly launched satellite will reveal even more about the planet’s workings than originally planned.Gaia’s breath
  • OCO-2 joins the A-Train to study Earth’s atmosphere 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.OCO-2 joins the A-Train to study Earth’s atmosphere
  • NASA Launches Carbon Mission to Watch Earth Breathe 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.NASA Launches Carbon Mission to Watch Earth Breathe

Watching the planet breathe
Watching the planet breathe

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.