The Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) mission has been recommended for launch in the 2013-2016 time frame by the National Research Council. The mission’s purpose is to gather science that identifies human versus natural sources of aerosols and ozone precursors, tracks air pollution transport, and studies the dynamics of coastal ecosystems, river plumes, and tidal fronts.

GEO-CAPE will provide important information on coastal ocean regions to study the impact of climate change and human activity on this poorly observed, yet important component of Earth’s ecosystem. Continuous observation from GEO-CAPE’s geostationary platform will allow for more adequate monitoring of population exposure to air and water pollutants and the ability to relate pollutant concentrations to their sources or transport, thereby providing data to improve forecasts.

What is NASA doing?

As NASA develops its plan to develop instruments to meet the goals of this mission, there are some objectives NASA is looking to meet. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a particularly important species to monitor; CO tracks the transport of polluted air, and it plays a key role in ozone processing. We will characterize the noise and spectral performance of a laboratory prototype of the SWIR (2.3 um) subsystem of an infrared gas filter correlation radiometer for geostationary CO measurements. Testing will verify the instrument model to guide evolving GEO-CAPE mission implementation decisions.

What Applications Does NASA Envision?

Science Objectives: The GEO-CAPE mission satisfies science objectives for studies of both coastal ocean biophysics and atmospheric-pollution chemistry. It also has important direct societal application in each domain.

Ocean Objectives:

  • Quantify the response of marine ecosystems to short-term physical events;
  • Assess the importance of high temporal variability in coupled biological- physical coastal-ecosystem models;
  • Monitor biotic and abiotic material in transient surface features;
  • Detect, track and predict the location of sources of hazardous materials; and
  • Detect floods Air Quality Objective: Satisfy basic research and systematic needs related to:
  • Air-quality assessment, forecasting, and model validation;
  • Emission of O3 and aerosol precursors;
  • Pollutant transport into, across, and out of the Americas; and
  • Sentinel capability to identify and quantify large releases from environmental disasters.

What Are NASA Needs?

NASA Langley welcomes industry partner(s) to collaborate in the development of small space-qualifiable gas cells, rugged satellite platform pointing knowledge capabilities, and efficient software solutions for image registration and navigation. These capabilities will be incorporated into GEO-CAPE instruments, mission formulation, and payload system engineering.

More Information

For more information on this topic, contact Doreen Neil of NASA Langley at 757-864- 8171 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..