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JAXA Targets 2008 Launch for Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite

The structural thermal model (STM) of the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite GOSAT.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning a summer 2008 launch for its new Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT). JAXA unveiled a prototype of GOSAT at its space center in Tsukuba on Monday.

GOSAT will monitor the distribution of the surface density of greenhouse gases on a near global basis, measuring about 56,000 points on the globe in a three-day scan cycle as it orbits the planet every 100 minutes. Currently, the number of ground-based carbon dioxide observation points has been limited, and they have been distributed unequally throughout the world.

GOSAT will measure the concentration of greenhouse gases by analyzing absorption levels in infrared energy radiated from the Earth. Many absorption lines of greenhouse gases are observed within the infrared spectrum region, and JAXA expects GOSAT to provide accurate data by measuring those absorption levels with precision.

The observational data from space will be combined with data obtained on land and with simulation models.

GOSAT was jointly developed by JAXA and Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. JAXA is responsible for the development of the satellite itself and an observing sensor, while the ministry is mainly in charge of the utilization of the data obtained.


fyi CO2

After we win the war in Iraq, we will have to get a satellite destroyer, too.


FYI - We've had them since the 1980s:

Rafael Seidl

Unmanned spaceflight beats the manned type every time on a bang-for-bucks comparison. Perhaps one day NASA will abandon the ISS and Mission to Mars nonsense and spend more of its budget on remote sensing operations in earth orbit (in addition to missions to other relevant heavenly bodies).

For maximum utility, space-based mapping of the atmosphere ought to be complemented by continuous, long-term 3D surveys of the oceans wrt temperature, salinity, currents & biodiversity, conducted by small, autonomous, unmanned submarines. If the US Navy blocks the publication of what data it already has, other nations should run rings around the US for the sake of improved weather and climate prediction.


Actually, NASA needs to continue doing exactly what it is doing with respect to manned exploration. If you really want better data, you should be looking at the private companies (SpaceX, Rocketplane Kistler, etc.) working to reduce launch costs. Get launch costs down enough and anyone who wants better data can just put their own damn satellite in orbit. There's no reason why environmental groups shouldn't be collecting this data themselves in the long run.


Rafael, I would take issue with your characterization of the ISS as nonsense. Building and living in space has generated huge amounts of practical experience as well as medical knowledge. I would rather see the mars mission replaced with a space elevator (after we build enough clean/renewable energy capacity to reduce our pollution to sustainable levels).


I would take issue with both your ideas of scrapping mars missions. We're human beings, if we didn't explore we'd still all be in Africa, we have to move to other planets eventually, so why not start early, the first step is actually getting there, and if we keep putting it off, we never will.


The main value of the new satalite will likely be to show how many countries have been completely leing about thier emmissions.


Brad, I agree with you about our need to leave the nest. I just think that a space elevator is a necessary step as opposed to a throw away long distance shot.

Rafael Seidl

Gents -

reality check: leaving the planet to go colonize another is not a realistic prospect. None of the other planets or moons in the solar system can support human life. Anything outside the solar system is way too far for us to reach in the next few centuries. Even if astronomers could prove that life existed elsewhere in our galactic neighborhood, it wouldn't make any difference in practical terms.

This little blue orb is all we've got. Slipping the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God, as Pres. Reagan put it, is no substitute for addressing the negative impact of our Western lifestyles on our environment here on Earth. Manned spaceflight was largely a way to hoodwink the US taxpayer into funding the R&D for the missile end of the cold war and, to keep rocket scientists from freelancing (cp. Gerald Bull's supergun concept, which was picked up by Saddam Hussein). Indeed, some say sotto voce that the ISS project's raison d'etre is to keep Russian aerospace engineers housed and fed.

Besides, there is a big difference between the earlier exploration of the globe and recent manned exploration of space. It's called air. That's why outer space and the deep oceans are best explored by drones.


Rafael: I don't think you'll get much support from a generation that learned how to read with the books of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. As far as unmanned drones go, if it hasn't have a human on it we haven't been there. I doubt you take your vacations via the internet. Think of all the resources out there just waiting for us.



Vision for Space Exploration program of NASA also includes:
Origins—The beginnings of the universe, our solar system, other planetary systems, and life;

Evolution—How the components of the universe have changed with time, including the physical, chemical, and biological processes that have affected it, and the sequences of major events; and

Fate—What the lessons of galactic, stellar, and planetary history tell about the future and our place in the universe.

What the point in such research?
The money better would be spent on “back to the earth” technologies like hot-air balloon aviation, back-yard organic poultry, bicycle cargo hauling, and pigeon wireless communication.


We wil leave the earth in droves prolly within 80-120 years. Mainly because when you get right down to it we will do anything to get away from all the idiots AND we will do anything to encourage all the idiots to leave. Conolizing mars today is no more difficult for our civilization then colonizing america was for our ancestors. The only difference is things havnt got to the point where we REALY wana get outa here.

Roger Pham

Rafael was right! Don't underestimate the difficulty of manned space expedition.
In near space, we have enough problem with cost of $10,000 for every pound launched into orbit. Life support system is very complex and is quite heavy and thus expensive to lug into space. Robots don't need life support system, hence can be much lighter.
In deep space, beyond the reach of the earth magnetic field, you will be bombarded with cosmic rays that will damage your cells and your DNA's at the rate of ~10% every few months, such that after 6 months to a year in deep space, you will literally be a "changed man", or more damaged man that will raise the risk of all sorts of illness such cancer, aging, alzheimer, etc...Perhaps a very large spaceship with a large magnetic field can deflect these particles from a much large distances particles, but with current technology, such is still very dangerous. Material shields thick enough for cosmic ray shielding would be too heavy to carry on board space ship.

Successful human expedition into deep space for colonization will have to await Helium3 fusion technology to produce vastly more powerful electrical ionizing rocket engine than we have now. Such a technology can reduce a trip to Mars from 6 months to a few weeks. With powerful Helium3 fusion technology, Mars can be made inhabitable via underground caves and tunnels, like in the movie "Total Recall". Powerful doors, walls and airlock system can keep human quarters pressurized to 8,000ft level. Rapid algae growth bioreactor can produce food as well as reprocess CO2 from human breath and human waste and turning into O2 and nitrogen fertilizer. We will have to design an entire biosphere here on earth and ship it piece by piece over there. Intelligent robots will be the assemblers and tunnel diggers to create a livable area on Mars. Living deep underground is the best way to cope with the deep cold of Mars and the violent storms system. I don't know why anybody would want to go there, but we don't know it until we get there.

NASA will have a lot of work cut out for them to do in order for us to get us to Mars and to stay there. But, first, we have to mine the moon for Helium3 first, then perfect the fusion reactor...then building the space ship with a vast and most powerful magnetic field...

"To Infinity...and Beyond..."


Roger: So what if it's difficult? You support the H2 economy and that certainly isn't easy. Exploring is in our nature.

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