NASA satellite searching for global warming clues crashes near Antarctica


It looks like we are going to have to wait for awhile now for better data on what is really going on with our atmosphere and climate.  The satellite that NASA sent up to study the flow of carbon dioxide developed technical difficulties and crashed.

Once again, we see that our ability to travel outside of our world is still quite experimental and we struggle to do it with the repeatability of plane flights.  If I was a conspiracy fearing individual (which I am not) I would question if scientists deliberately sabotaged the flight so that real data that could prove or disprove climate models could not be gathered.  Such speculation is obviously foolish though.

I originally spoke of this satellite here so click over and read about its importance and significance.

Early Tuesday a NASA rocket that blasted off around 2 a.m. crashed into the ocean near Antarctica. …carrying the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (a global warming satellite).

… Investigators have found that a cover protecting the satellite did not separate from the rocket during the launch. When the cover does not separate from the rocket it adds weight to the rocket and prevents it from getting into orbit.

Scientists had been working on this $280 million mission to put a global warming satellite in space for nine years. This would have been NASA’s first satellite to monitor global carbon dioxide emissions (Japan launched their first last month). Why does NASA need a satellite to monitor this greenhouse gas? Scientists believe carbon dioxide is one of the main contributors to our Earth warming. Launching such a satellite is said to improve climate models (providing better climate forecasts for the future), and also help scientists determine where carbon dioxide originates and how much is absorbed by natural sources like forests and oceans. For current data, researchers have relied on almost 300 land-based stations and airplanes with instruments to collect carbon dioxide data. The satellite would have been a huge advancement for their research purposes.

The future of the satellite is still in question. Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth science division stated, “At this time, we don’t have a complete inventory of flight spares, or what we should need, should we make a decision to re-build an OCO.” Global warming is a widely debated issue, both politically and scientifically. There is absolutely no question that this unexpected crash is a huge disappointment and tragedy for NASA

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