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New Japanese satellite to monitor global warming

KAGOSHIMA PREFECTURE, JAPAN (NBC) – Japan Aerospace Agency will launch a satellite this January that will monitor greenhouse gases and assist in the fight against climate change. The agency has named the satellite as Go-Sat, and says it is able to detect infrared signals absorbed by greenhouse gases.

After blast-off, the satellite will go into orbit around the Earth making rounds in less than two hours, and will collect new climate data every three days. The satellite is equipped with sensors and can observe the distribution of carbon dioxide and methane.

The satellite is scheduled to be in orbit for five years and preliminary data is expected to be ready for scientists by April or May. UN climate officials are hoping to work out a new emission treaty by December 2009, but this satellite should help to monitor gases before and after any treaty is signed.