NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) was successfully launched before dawn this morning.
It will go through a 10-day check out process and then it will take three weeks to maneuver it into the desired orbit. The science mission won’t start for about 45 days. The mission is scheduled to last two years. They are planning on releasing the initial results early next year (2015).
This is a wonderful mission and I am really looking forward to the results. The troposphere we live in is well mixed so the gas distribution is very uniform, but not perfectly so. There are concentration differences and these will identify sources and sinks of CO2. OCO-2 has instruments sensitive enough to distinguish these concentration differences and help us understand where CO2 is coming from and where it is going. It will be very interesting to see the results.