A Failed Launch for a Failed Idea

Photo by Gene Blevins/LA Daily News

Photo by Gene Blevins/LA Daily News

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was launched this morning from Vandenburg Air Force Base.  I became aware of the launch on my way to work this morning.  The strange con trail patterns that you can normally see in the west after a launch were in the east, lit by the rising sun.  I don’t think I have ever seen the con trail drift all the way across the sky and still look like the original con trail.

The launch failed to deliver the OCO into orbit and everything came down in the ocean near Antarctica.  I can’t help but note the irony–a satellite meant to study global warming crashed to earth near the place where the ice is supposed to be melting, but is actually increasing.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was developed to measure the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  CO2 is the gas blamed for man-cause “global warming” or “climate change.”

Here is the mission explanation from the JPL website:

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) is a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Project (ESSP) mission designed to make precise, time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from an Earth orbiting satellite.

CO2 is a critical component of the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the beginning of the industrial age, the concentration of CO2 has increased by about 38%, from about 280 parts per million to over 380 parts per million. Scientific studies indicate that CO2 is one of several gases that trap heat near the surface of the Earth. These gases are known as greenhouse gases. Many scientists have concluded that substantial increases in the abundance of CO2 will generate an increase in the Earth’s surface temperature. Historical records provide evidence of this trend, which is often called global warming. Current research indicates that continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 may modify the environment in a variety of ways. These changes may impact ocean currents, the jet stream and rain patterns. Some parts of the Earth might actually cool while the average temperature increases. Thus, a more correct term for this phenomenon is climate change.

I still wonder when the scientists without a bias will get some coverage in the press.  Instead of just taking man-caused global warming as a given, how about some real science.

Last weekend, we went to the newly remodeled California Academy of Sciences museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  Besides being way too expensive (and crowded), I was impressed with how they had just bought into the “Climate Change” mantra as an established fact.  Nevermind that the “science” behind it is as shaky as Jello in Parkfield, CA.


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