NASA has chosen a consortium led by the University of Oklahoma for a five-year Earth science mission to measure greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space as part of efforts to better understand the planet’s natural exchanges of carbon between the atmosphere, land and ocean.
The Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory initiative aims to monitor plant health and vegetation stress in the Americas as well as probe natural sources and exchange processes that impact carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane, NASA said Wednesday.
The $166 million project will send a commercial communications satellite over the region from an orbit of 22,000 miles above the equator as part of a competitively selected Earth Venture-Mission.
“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,” said Michael Freilich, director of the Earth science division at NASA’s science mission directorate.
The University of Oklahoma will lead the GeoCARB team comprised of Lockheed Martin, SES Government Solutions, Colorado State University, the Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.