Saturday, August 23, 2014

First data from Orbiting Carbon Observatory

Not all space news is about space.  Some of the most important missions are about looking back at Earth.  One of those is the Orbiting Carbon Observatory or OCO-2, which I mentioned in National Climate Assessment 2014 and Gliese 832c and other space and astronomy news, then featured in Orbiting Carbon Observatory launches and space news video extravaganza.  NASA gave it first billing in last week's news digest video Carbon Observatory’s First Data on This Week @NASA.

A month after its launch, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, NASA’s first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide – has reached its final operating orbit and returned its first science data. “First light” test data were collected on August 6 as OCO-2 flew over central New Guinea, confirming the health of the spacecraft’s science instrument’s. Also, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station, Super Celestial Show, Black Hole Blurs X-ray Light, Million Pound Move and more! has more in NASA Satellite Takes First Look at Earth's Carbon Dioxide By Mike Wall, Senior Writer, on August 13, 2014 05:42pm ET.
NASA's newest satellite has arrived in its final orbit and begun tracking levels of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2), which blasted off July 2, arrived in its final orbit 438 miles (705 kilometers) above the Earth on Aug. 3. The satellite then collected its first test data three days later while flying over Papua New Guinea, agency officials said.

"The initial data from OCO-2 appear exactly as expected — the spectral lines are well resolved, sharp and deep," OCO-2's chief architect and calibration lead, Randy Pollock, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement Monday (Aug. 11). "We still have a lot of work to do to go from having a working instrument to having a well-calibrated and scientifically useful instrument, but this was an important milestone on this journey."
Here's to years of data from this mission to understand the 400 ppm world.

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