A Taurus XL rocket carrying a satellite intended to be using for monitoring carbon dioxide levels plunged back to Earth several minutes after taking off.
A covering for the satellite failed to release, and the rocket could not maintain its intended course with the extra weight. The satellite went down with the rocket in the ocean near Antarctica. It was designed as a remote orbiting carbon observatory that would revolve around the earth at a height of 400 miles.
As NASA’s first global warming satellite, the project cost $280 million and nine years of development. Data gathered by the satellite was expected to help researchers refine their climate change models and indicate the sources of C02 at the same time providing insight into C02 absorption by oceans and forests. The crash has postponed the launch of a similar satellite which will measure atmospheric soot and aerosol levels.
Last month, Japan was successful in launching a global warming emissions satellite. The Ibuki satellite is scheduled to collect climate change data for five years and reportedly can measure 50,000 locations every one hundred minutes.
Image Credit: US Air Force, Public Domain
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