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Orbiting NASA observatory to map, monitor CO2

NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
 in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Independent U.S.
 readied the launch early Tuesday of a satellite that will produce the first complete map of the Earth's human and natural sources of carbon dioxide carbon dioxide, chemical compound, CO2, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is about one and one-half times as dense as air under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure. , CO2, the gas most closely linked to climate change.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) is a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Project (ESSP) mission designed to make precise, time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from an Earth orbiting satellite. , or OCO, was scheduled to be launched at 0951 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) See UTC.

GMT - Universal Time 1
 (1:51 am) from Vandenberg Air Force Base Vandenberg Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 3,456 acres (1,399 hectares), SW Calif., near Lompoc; chief Pacific coast launch site for military satellites.  in California on board the Taurus XL rocket built by Orbital Science Corp., NASA said in a statement posted Monday on its website.

It would be the first time NASA has used a Taurus rocket.

NASA said the observatory would map the geographic distribution of CO2 sources and study their changes over time.

The measurements will be integrated with those from ground observation stations and other satellites to get a fuller picture of the processes that regulate CO2 and its role in Earth's climate and carbon cycles, according to the space agency.

The data gathered by the OCO satellite will help scientists project increases in CO2 with greater precision, thereby enabling them to more accurately forecast changes in climate.

Policymakers and the private sector could use the data to make better decisions aimed at improving the quality of life on Earth, NASA said.

"It's critical that we understand the processes controlling carbon dioxide in our atmosphere today so we can predict how fast it will build up in the future and how quickly we'll have to adapt to climate change caused by carbon dioxide buildup," said David Crisp, the OCO's principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory “JPL” redirects here. For other uses, see JPL (disambiguation).

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a NASA research center located in the cities of Pasadena and La CaƱada Flintridge, near Los Angeles, California, USA.
 in Pasadena, California.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Feb 23, 2009
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