Follow this link to skip to the main content

OCO-2 News Articles

  • NASA's OCO-2 will track our impact on airborne carbon June 26, 2014
    NASA's OCO-2 will track our impact on airborne carbon
    Every time we get in a car and drive, we burn gasoline, releasing carbon dioxide and other compounds into the air and disturbing Earth's climate. Our use of fossil fuels continues to increase exponentially, with more than half of all fossil fuels ever used by humans being consumed in the last 20 years.NASA's OCO-2 will track our impact on airborne carbon
  • NASA's OCO-2 Observatory Ready for Launch June 25, 2014
    NASA's OCO-2 Observatory Ready for Launch
    The launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission (OCO-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1.NASA's OCO-2 Observatory Ready for Launch
  • Mike Gunson: Data, data, data June 24, 2014
    Mike Gunson: Data, data, data
    Dr. Mike Gunson has worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1987. He started out working on the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy Experiment (ATMOS), which was designed to study the composition of the atmosphere in detail.Mike Gunson: Data, data, data
  • Dave Crisp: Man on a mission June 13, 2014
    Dave Crisp: Man on a mission
    As leader of the mission’s Science Team, Dr. Dave Crisp lives, breathes and eats OCO-2. He helped put together the original idea for the OCO mission and has been working tirelessly since 2000 on the project. Crisp led the team that designed, developed and delivered the mission to the launch pad.Dave Crisp: Man on a mission
  • “Carbon Copy” Spacecraft Ready to Track Global Carbon Dioxide June 12, 2014
    “Carbon Copy” Spacecraft Ready to Track Global Carbon Dioxide
    On February 24, 2009, the launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission — designed to study the global fate of carbon dioxide — resulted in failure. Shortly after launch, the rocket nose didn’t separate as expected, and the satellite could not be released. But now, a carbon copy of the original mission, called OCO-2 is slated to launch on July 1, 2014.“Carbon Copy” Spacecraft Ready to Track Global Carbon Dioxide
  • New NASA space observatory to study carbon conundrums June 12, 2014
    New NASA space observatory to study carbon conundrums
    NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere is in final preparations for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.New NASA space observatory to study carbon conundrums
  • Annmarie Eldering: Making good science happen May 30, 2014
    Annmarie Eldering: Making good science happen
    Dr. Annmarie Eldering has been with the OCO-2 mission since 2010, and has been collaborating with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab since she was a gradate student at neighboring Caltech in 1990.Annmarie Eldering: Making good science happen
  • Obama to target power plants' carbon dioxide emissions May 30, 2014
    Obama to target power plants' carbon dioxide emissions
    Chicago - On Monday, President Obama plans to unveil what is likely to be the most significant initiative of his presidency to combat climate change: a new rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, the country's single greatest source of the heat-trapping gas.Obama to target power plants' carbon dioxide emissions
  • Carbon Dioxide Passes Global 400 ppm Milestone May 27, 2014
    Carbon Dioxide Passes Global 400 ppm Milestone
    A new carbon dioxide milestone has been reached according to the World Meteorological Agency. Average carbon dioxide measurements at all monitoring stations in the northern hemisphere were above 400 parts per million for the month of April, the first time that’s been recorded in human history.Carbon Dioxide Passes Global 400 ppm Milestone
  • Ralph Basilio: Unfinished Business May 20, 2014
    Ralph Basilio: Unfinished Business
    Dr. Ralph Basilio feels the full weight of the OCO-2 project on his shoulders. As Project Manager, he has ultimate responsibility for the success of the mission. After the launch failure of the first OCO satellite, which resulted in the loss of the mission, Basilio and the team were committed to rebuilding the instrument so that it could answer the urgent science questions it was built to resolve.Ralph Basilio: Unfinished Business

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.