NASA Carbon Observatory (OCO-3) To Launch

In an effort to improve the science surrounding Climate Change, NASA scientists have planned for the mission ‘Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3’. The OCO-3 assignment involves sending an instrument to the International Space Station which will better understand the movement of carbon dioxide between plants and the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the OCO-3 has received negative feedback from President Donald Trump, who has cut the funding for this mission as well as four other missions. After the original cuts to funding due to budget restraints in 2018, NASA has received further restrictions in 2019. Luckily U.S. Congress has allowed for this important work to continue.

According to the project scientist at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Annmarie Eldering, “Our goal is to get really good data so we can make informed decisions about how to manage carbon and carbon emissions in the future,” Eldering also stated that the main scientific question that she hopes OCO-3 will answer is surrounding the movement of carbon dioxide between plants and the atmosphere. Although carbon dioxide is makes up a small percentage of the molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, which is approximately 400 parts per million, this can still be significant. This is because the fluctuations in carbon dioxide has created significant temperature rises on Earth. OCO-3 Project Scientist, Annmarie Eldering, stated that “carbon is really effective at trapping heat,” and “even changing the ratio from 300 parts per million to 400 parts per million makes a big difference.”

This mission is significantly beneficial to science as well as to international security and peace; especially in relation the rise of climate refugees. This will help scientists discover why greenhouse gas levels vary over the course of days to months. As climate change has been on the forefront of governments concerns worldwide, the work that NASA is doing is extremely valuable and should be supported. This is especially at a time when there are many politicians denying the existence of climate change and refusing to act. Politicians should listen when scientists can communicate the truth to the public; this is vital to international peace and security.

The incredible work that NASA scientists are doing reminds us of the positive impact that human beings can have upon climate change. It provides hope that even though humans have negatively contributed to greenhouse emissions, we’re also able to understand our mistakes and improve them. This also provides a great example of scientists utilizing the advancement of technology to better the world as well as ensuring international peace and security. This will also ensure that people can maintain their homes, which are often lost due to erratic fluctuations in temperature and climate change.

The OCO-3 was built on a budget of less than 100 million dollars and scientists managed to recycle parts of its precursor, the OCO-2. Its construction took place in California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.  As soon as the OCO-3 arrives at the International Space Station, it will be mounted onto the underside of the ISS by a robotic arm.

Aisha Parker