Natural processes are working hard to keep the carbon cycle in balance by absorbing about half of our carbon emissions, limiting the extent of climate change. There's a lot we don't know about these processes, including where they are occurring and how they might change as the climate warms. To understand and prepare for the carbon cycle of the future, we have an urgent need to find out.
This animation shows the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, the first NASA spacecraft dedicated to studying carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. In July 2014, NASA will launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to study the fate of carbon dioxide worldwide. OCO-2 will not be the first satellite to measure carbon dioxide, but it's the first with the observational strategy, precision, resolution and coverage needed to answer these questions about these little-monitored regions.
The hunt for alien life has been given a boost after scientists discovered a habitable planet almost the same size as Earth.
Astronomer Thomas Barclay from Nasa's Ames Research Centre in California made the discovery using data collected by the Kepler space telescope.
The unnamed planet was found orbiting an unidentified star in its so-called Goldilocks zone - a region around the star that emits just enough energy, light and temperature for liquid surface water to appear.