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Forget The Moon: Mostly Pointless Carbon Emission Satellite To Be Re-Flown Instead

From @NASA on Twitter

Good news for climate science in Obama’s NASA budget out yesterday: We plan to rebuild & refly the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.

Will that compensate for the indefinite postponement of any flight beyond Earth orbit? I guess not, especially after reading some wonderful details about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) (the first attempt failed to reach orbit on Feb 24, 2009):

  • flown in a near polar orbit [observing] most of the Earth’s surface at least once every sixteen days
  • OCO measurements would record changes in CO2 abundance over annual seasonal cycles
  • fly in Sun synchronous orbit so that all observations took place at about 1:18 PM
  • planned operational life of 2 years

Let’s forget for a minute that 2 years are nothing at all in terms of climate (a problem affecting most Earth observation platforms dedicated to climate science, it seems)….still, a quick computation reveals the grand total amount of observations from OCO for any particular spot on the planet is expected to be 45. That is, around 11 per “seasonal cycle”. And all of them, at 1:18PM local time.

No further comment is necessary.