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NASA Global Warming Satellite Fails to Take Off, Falls into Ocean

NASA's $278 million Orbiting Carbon observatory failed to launch correctly earlier today from Vandenberg Air Force Base and fell into the Antarctic Ocean as a result. The satellite, which was supposed to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth, came crashing down when a protective cover failed to peel away as planned.

The observatory would have retrieved 8 million CO2 measurements every 16 days -- a major increase compared to the information currently available from ground and aircraft instruments. If successful, the satellite would also have provided critical information to policy makers aiming to slow global warming.

To make things even more embarrassing, Japan recently launched its own CO2 observation satellite in January -- sucessfully. The "Ibuki" satellite will track CO2 and methane levels from 56,000 locations.

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