Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Delayed and Denied

NASA's latest satellite crashed into the Indian Ocean soon after being launched. The satellite was suppose to be able to take accurate measurements of CO² of the earth's atmosphere.

NASA and climate researchers are weighing their options after yesterday's crash of a new satellite designed to monitor atmospheric carbon dioxide with unprecedented accuracy

"To say that it's extremely disappointing would be an understatement. This was a really important science mission," said a dismayed Edward J. Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for science.

Weiler said it was too soon to say whether NASA will attempt to launch a duplicate of the OCO, the initials of which are a nod to carbon dioxide's chemical structure: two atoms of oxygen and one atom of carbon. The satellite would have monitored not only the source points of CO2 emissions but also the carbon "sinks," such as forests and oceans, where carbon is taken out of the atmosphere.

What went wrong with the $278 million mission will be the subject of a lengthy investigation, but Weiler said it appeared that the protective nose cone, known as the fairing, failed to separate from the satellite. With the extra mass still clinging to the satellite, the rocket did not have enough thrust to boost it into orbit, and the rocket and conjoined spacecraft fell back to Earth and slammed into the ocean.

This will be too important to fail to the Global Warming believers. It will be built and launched again. The obvious name for the replacement satellite would be OCO².

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