NASA develops CO2-reading satellite

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

The first satellite that will ever be able to "see" CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere is scheduled to launch at 5:56 A.M. on Tuesday, July 8th. This satellite is designed exclusively to measure the carbon dioxide around the globe.

Dubbed the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), the satellite is designed to study one mile of the Earth at a time, to avoid clouds and other blockades in the atmosphere, reports Newsweek. This allows the data to be extremely precise and give a more accurate reading. The various levels will be measured almost 24 times every second.

The CO2 readings will come from everything from tailpipes to smokestacks, and the satellite is designed to study the absorption of the CO2 by others on Earth. Through studying the consumption of the CO2 by plants and the ocean, scientists hope to estimate the amount of CO2 that may be on Earth many years from now, and understand how we can avoid over-exposure to the gas.

The mission costs almost $468 million, and is estimated to help save millions of dollars in studies about our CO2 levels, reports The Space Reporter.

“With the launch of this spacecraft, decision-makers and scientists will get a much better idea of the role of carbon dioxide in climate change," claims Betsy Edwards, an OCO-2 program executive at NASA headquarters in Washington.

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