Posts Tagged ‘satellite’

3 April

Why Is OCO-2 Helpful With Managing Atmospheric CO2 ?


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

Remember, the goal of Sun Is The Future is: to speed up our earthly transition toward Solar/Renewable Energy Age because we want to help reduce CO2 emission, reduce pollution, solve energy problem, reduce the chance of international conflicts, and improve local economy by encouraging job opportunities in solar/renewable energy industries.  We work toward our goal by:

  1. sharing information (,,,,,, @SusanSunNunamak)
  2. helping entrepreneurs to establish small businesses in solar energy/renewable energy/energy efficiency/recycling via microfinance (
  3. raising fund to achieve 2. & 1. above via Sunshine Online Store (

For this post, we will be concentrating on one aspect of CO2 emission. Keep in mind that we can only manage what we can measure!

OCO-2 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2), set to launch in July, 2014 (credit: NASA/JPL Caltech, design will also be available at

Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, set to launch in July 2014, will make precise, global measurements of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is the largest human-generated contributor to global warming. OCO-2 observations will be used to improve understanding of the natural and human-induced sources of carbon dioxide and how these emissions cycle through Earth’s oceans, land and atmosphere. OCO-2, managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on a Delta II rocket.

Yes, those are solar panels that you are seeing in the image above (and below). As a matter of fact, most of the space vehicles are powered by solar panels!

NASA's OCO-2 (credit: NASA/JPL Caltech, design also will be available at

OCO-2 in space (credit: NASA/JPL Caltech, design will also be available at










Why does NASA want to launch OCO-2 to take measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) from space? Due to our concern for climate change and the fact that we can only manage what we can measure. This is NASA’s first satellite designed specifically to measure the global distribution of atmospheric CO2 from space. This is done by measuring the sunlight bouncing off of earth’s surface. On its way through the atmosphere, this sunlight interacts with CO2 molecules in the air. Like other gases, CO2 only absorbs certain colors of light. OCO-2 is only tuned to look at these specific colors. By measuring amount of lights that are missing in each, amount of CO2 molecules that got in the way will be measured. As OCO-2 orbits around the earth each day, hundreds of thousands of CO2 measurements will be made. Such high density of measurements will provide us with far more information in how and where CO2 is traded between sources and sinks. Variations due to seasonal changes will also be more likely to be captured through data collected over weeks and months, helping us in arriving at better understanding of climate change. Take a look at the video below:


~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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27 January

NanoSail-D2’s Mission


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links for more information)

As I’ve promised in the previous post, today’s post is about the successful completion of a mission by Nanosail-D2, a mini-satellite with a solar sail that orbited the Earth for 240 days before performing a controlled reentry and burnout.  NanoSail-D2


NanoSail-D2 in orbit (artist depiction), creative commons


is a small satellite built by NASA‘s Marshall Space Flight Center and Ames Research Center to study the deployment of a solar sail in space. It is a three-unit CubeSat measuring 30 by 10 by 10 centimeters (12 × 3.9 × 3.9 inches), with a mass of 4 kilograms (8.8 lb). Its solar sail has an area of 10 square meters (110 sq ft), and was deployed in around five seconds.  It was planned to be deployed from the FASTSAT satellite around  December 3, 2010, two weeks after launch. The satellite did not eject at that time, but on January 17, 2011, it ejected on its own and deployed its sail three days later on the 20th. The beacon signal began transmitting after ejection and was first received on the afternoon of January 19, 2011.

To generate publicity and to encourage observations while the sail is still in orbit, NASA and have announced a photography competition with a grand prize of $500 to capture images of the solar sail in orbit.  On September 17, 2011, the solar sail re-entered the atmosphere, though this was only announced on November 29, 2011

For more on what lessons were learned from NanoSail-D2, please refer to Chelsea Katan (of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)’s NASA’s Next Solar Sail: Lessons from NanoSail-D2.  Below, is a video clip of NASA: NanoSail-D2’s mission a success:


We look forward to more future solar sailings in interstellar flights, privately or publicly funded.
~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your questions/suggestions/comments will be welcomed at


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