NASA launches Carbon Dioxide monitoring satellite
Carbon dioxide is the main cause of pollution in several areas. It is necessary to keep a tab on the carbon dioxide levels in order to prevent it from causing adverse impacts on the environment and living beings.
In an effort to keep a check on the carbon dioxide levels, NASA has launched the first satellite to measure carbon dioxide levels at different places on earth from its Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Wednesday.
Carbon dioxide is also a catalyst of temperature change resulting in global warming and melting of sea ice and glaciers, causing the extinction of several sea creatures and also destruction to humans. The satellite was actually scheduled for a Tuesday launch and due to a technical glitch, NASA was unable to initiate the launch at the planned time.
After fixing the ground equipment, it successfully launched the satellite on Wednesday. It has invested about $468 million in the project and the satellite will collect carbon dioxide level information at places all around the world which will help scientists observe how the oceans and the earth absorb carbon dioxide and whether their ability to absorb it is changing.
“Knowing what parts of Earth are helping to remove carbon from our atmosphere will help us understand whether they can keep on doing so in future,” said Michael Gunson of NASA’s Jet propulsion laboratory. “Quantifying these sinks now will help us predict how fast CO2 will build up in the future.”
After a period of six to seven weeks, the satellite’s spectrometer will start scanning the earth’s atmosphere for carbon dioxide levels. When it reaches the polar orbit 438 miles high, it will start circling earth every 100 minutes and measure carbon dioxide levels at different intensities of sunlight.
NASA is also hoping to give anyone free access to this data as it could be of help to researchers worldwide.