NASA recently announced through a press release their commitment to investigate the natural forces behind climate change via a new mission that will examine the processes relating to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane in the atmosphere.
The project receives the name of Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB). Berrien Moore, Dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, will be leading it.
Aside from analyzing cycles related to greenhouse gasses, GeoCARB will also monitor vegetation health throughout the Americas to understand better how these gasses are affecting it, and what humanity can do about it later on.
GeoCARB will provide insights on Earth’s vegetation from space
The mission will launch on a commercial communications satellite that will orbit the Earth at approximately 22,000 miles (35,400km). A team from the University of Oklahoma will be responsible for building the payload that will gather the data.
NASA has pledged a total of $166 million in funding for GeoCARB, a figure that will keep the project going for five years. The use of a commercial communications satellite will strengthen the administration’s bonds with the private industry, following its previous arrangements with companies like SpaceX.
The GeoCARB mission won the first place in a competition held by NASA’s second Earth Venture Mission from 15 proposals related to the investigation of the Earth’s system from small orbital platforms.
Data collected from the satellite will tell us more about how our world functions
GeoCARB will conduct a daily measurement of both the total concentration of carbon dioxide and its related gasses in the atmosphere and solar-induced fluorescence, which is a natural sign that researchers use to determine changes in vegetation photosynthesis.
These measurements will provide significant data regarding the global natural carbon cycle and the state of vegetation throughout North, Central, and South America according to Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
GeoCARB is the second project funded by NASA’s Earth Venture division
The Earth Venture missions are subsidiaries of NASA’s Earth Science Division, dedicated to gathering valuable scientific information about our planet’s current natural concerns. The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) is the first project in the series and will launch next Monday, December 12.
NASA uses these missions to collect data from space, air, land, and sea to improve the future of human life on Earth. The administration also uses the data from these missions to follow new investigative paths and come up with efficient solutions to Earth-related issues.
NASA also shares the information garnered from these studies with academic institutions around the world.