NASA’s new greenhouse gas detector will help track down ‘super-emitters’ from space

On Sept. 12, a mirror-walled box arrived in the clean room of Planet Labs in San Francisco. This box contains a spectrometer, designed specifically to observe carbon dioxide and methane on Earth’s surface.

Forged at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) further south in California, this spectrometer’s stop in San Francisco will see it mounted onto a satellite called Tanager. That satellite, if all goes according to plan, should launch in 2024. The nonprofit Carbon Mapper  hopes to use Tanager to pinpoint greenhouse gas “super-emitters” on our planet.

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