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GeoCARB: NASA Rolls Out Second Earth Venture Mission

Dec 10, 2016 04:10 AM EST
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NASA will take on a new groundbreaking earth science mission: the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB), an official press release from the space agency said last Dec. 7.

GeoCARB is the second space-based investigation lined up in NASA's Earth Venture, which are a series of small, low-budgeted, and targeted missions as part of a bigger program, such as NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program. (The first mission in the series is the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), which was chosen back in 2012 and will be launched on Monday, Dec. 12.)

NASA dedicated a whopping $166 million in total funding for GeoCARB, which should cover early stage development, launch of the mission as a hosted payload on a commercial communications satellite, and data analysis over the next five years. In the pipeline since 2010, the new satellite mission is expected to launch sometime in 2021, an article by the Washington Post stated.

The space agency is confident that the GeoCARB mission will continue the nation's pioneering efforts in quantifying critical greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space, which in turn will help us better understand the Earth's natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean.

"The GeoCARB mission breaks new ground for NASA's Earth science and applications programs. GeoCARB will provide important new measurements related to Earth's global natural carbon cycle, and will allow monitoring of vegetation health throughout North, Central and South America," Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said.

Headed by Berrien Moore, the vice president for weather and climate programs at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, the GeoCARB mission will be executed in partnership with the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California; SES Government Solutions Company in Reston, Virginia; the Colorado State University in Fort Collins; and NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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