After lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a protective shroud holding the Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to separate, dooming the mission. The extra weight caused the satellite to fall back to Earth. It splashed down in the ocean just north of Antarctica.
This is a great disappointment, to say the least. Built by Jet Propulsion Laboratories, this satellite was the first designed specifically to monitor carbon cycles and movement in our atmosphere, oceans and on the Earth's surface. I sincerely hope that NASA gets right to work building another. I can't think of a more important mission, frankly.
From Discovery News:
"We will uncover all kinds of patterns and cycles in carbon dioxide that people never thought existed. It'll be just like when the first ozone measurements were made," said project scientist Chip Miller, with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
"We get at the question of the sources of carbon dioxide and see how much is pulled out (of the atmosphere) by land and how much by seas," he said.
If you're of a mind, call your congressional person to urge support for re-doing this mission, even before anyone speaks up in opposition. It ought to be fast-tracked.
Hope you're having a better morning than NASA and JPL.