NASA successfully propelled a new satellite into the Earth’s atmospheric space yesterday at 11:56 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST). The spacecraft called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, was engineered for NASA by the company Orbital, which is one of the world’s top satellite manufacturers. The mission of the OCO-2 is to perform a series of circular rotations around the Earth to conduct “space-based measurements.”
The spherically shaped, orbital satellite was attached to the Delta II rocket by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Ca. Orbital and JPL scientists recorded the OCO-2 met its targeted altitude level of 430 miles into space about 56 minutes after takeoff. The NASA satellite will make orbits around the globe for the next two years, while JPL and Orbital engineers will document the developing CO2 levels from space. Once the comprehensive study has been completed, researches plan to find natural solutions that will cut the CO2 levels and other improvements to balance the overall atmospheric density.
Now that NASA has started the space program, many new studies and findings will come out of the increasing level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. Previously, many scientific studies indicated that Earth’s climate had changed dramatically. Research of CO2 levels in several different environmental regions all shown there has been an elevation from previously reported findings.
NASA officials said the most important process of the OCO-2 mission was achieved, when they successfully propelled the new satellite into the Earth’s atmospheric space. The launch of the OCO-2 satellite, weighing 990 pounds, connected the spacecraft to five other satellites already in orbit, called the A-Train constellation. JPL officials said the five observatory space capsules are currently orbiting the Earth every 100 minutes, and the OCO-2 satellite is now an attachment and will synchronously orbit at the front of the assembly.
As the controversy continues over climate change, international researchers continue to question why the normal heat temperatures are getting higher. Recently, international studies have indicated that during winter the North Pole, which is a drifting ice sheet that sits in the Arctic Ocean, does not distribute the same temperature levels as it did in the pre-industrial period.
Researchers will continue to pursue the reasons behind the heavy climate change. For now, NASA’s main goals are to ensure the OCO-2 transmissions test accurately and to begin documenting the levels of CO2 from a variety of locations around the earth. JPL and Orbital scientists will also continue to observe the revolutions made by the new mission OCO-2. NASA scientists will begin performing experiments as soon as the data becomes available later this year.
Currently, there are some other experiments being conducted to analyze climate change. The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii compiles measurements and studies of CO2 in the atmosphere.
In 2002, the Russians arrived on the continent of Antarctica and built up the Camp Barneo, which is several hundred miles away from the ice caps in the Arctic Ocean. Ever since construction of the camp, The Russians have hosted scientific researchers and expedition teams from all over the world.
In 2003, the U.S. Navy began its first studies regarding the climate change of the North Pole’s natural elements. U.S. scientists wanted to study the seasonal temperatures of the polarized ice masses covering the middle of the Arctic Ocean and to determine if they were affected by the recent climate change. However, due the drifting of the ice caps, units were unable to stabilize their stations within close proximity to the ice masses. In 2009, NASA members decided to pilot the first space-based study to analyze all of the CO2 temperatures on the earth, however, the launch mission failed due to hardware complications with the Taurus XL rocket launcher.
Just recently, NASA successfully propelled the new satellite CO2 into the Earth’s atmospheric space. Weeks before launching, a new study reported, “the measured temperature increase at the North Pole has been quoted as 7 degrees Fahrenheit.” Although the recent study confirmed that the polar ice caps are safe for now from a drastic increase in climate change, scientists are becoming more and more concerned about the effects of global warming on the polar ice caps in the next few years. Therefore, NASA will conduct regular assessments on the condition of the ice caps in order to maintain an efficient collaboration of findings. Both scientists and critics alike are certain this is the most accurate method to prevent the rising climate change.
By Kimakra Nealy