NASA's Carbon Observatory-3 Observatory Obtains First Data
From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019
NASA's Carbon Observatory-3 Orbiting (OCO-3), the agency's latest carbon dioxide measuring mission to be launched into space, has seen light. From its perch on the International Space Station, OCO-3 catches the first glimpse of sunlight reflected by the Earth's surface on June 25, 2019. Only a few weeks later, the OCO-3 team was able to make the first determination of carbon dioxide and diesel. induced fluorescence – the "light" that plants emit from photosynthesis, a process that includes the capture of carbon from the atmosphere.
The first picture shows carbon dioxide, or CO2, over the United States during the first few days of OCO-3 science data collection. This initial measurement is consistent with measurements made by older OCO-3 brothers, OCO-2, in the same area – which means that even though the calibration of the OCO-3 instrument has not been completed, it is appropriate to continue (currently still operating). ) preceding data records.
OCO-3 is also capable of measuring fluorescence induced by the first sun. The second picture shows fluorescence caused by the sun in western Asia. Areas with lower plant light – show lower photosynthetic activity – shown in light green; areas with higher photosynthetic activity are shown in dark green. As expected, there were significant differences in plant activity from areas with low vegetation near the Caspian Sea to forests and agriculture to the north and east of the Mingachevir Reservoir (near the center of the image).
"The team is very excited to see how well OCO-3 is doing," said Project Scientist Annmarie Eldering, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This initial carbon dioxide extraction and sun-induced fluorescence looks fantastic and will only increase with increasing calibration."
OCO-3 was launched to the space station on May 4. Although one of its main objectives is to continue the five-year data record started by OCO-2, it has two unique capabilities. First, the OCO-3 is equipped with a new guide mirror assembly that will enable scientists to map local variations of carbon dioxide from space more fully than can be achieved by OCO-2.
Second, the orbit of the space station will allow OCO-3 to see the same location on Earth at different times, which will allow scientists to study how carbon dioxide fluctuates throughout the day. OCO-2, not installed on the space station, is in a near polar orbit that only allows it to see the same location at the same time.
The OCO-3 data will complement data from two other Earth observer missions on the space station – ECOSTRESS, which measure temperature pressure and water use by plants, and GEDI, which assesses the amount of organic plant material on land that exists mainly in forests. Combined data from all these instruments will give scientists unprecedented levels of detail about how plants around the world respond to climate change and a more complete understanding of the carbon cycle.
The mission team hopes to complete the OCO-3 in-orbit checkout phase – the period where they ensure all instruments and components are working and calibrated correctly – next month. They are scheduled to release officially carbon dioxide and fluorescence caused by the sun data to the science community a year later; However, given the quality of measurements that have been made by OCO-3, the data is likely to be available sooner.
The OCO-3 project is managed by JPL. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
// end //
More news releases and status reports or headlines.
Please follow active SpaceRef Twitter and like us on Facebook.