NASA is trying to figure out what went wrong during the launch of a new satellite designed to measure the Earth's carbon dioxide levels.(MSNBC.com)
The "Orbiting Carbon Observatory" crashed into the ocean near Antartica about three minutes after takeoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.
Engineers believe the housing on the $280 million dollar global warming satellite failed to break-away during launch. The clam-like covering is designed to protect the equipment from atmospheric drag until the booster reaches space.
A special NASA board is investigating the failed launch and hopes to pinpoint a root cause.
The "Orbiting Carbon Observatory" was NASA's first satellite built specifically to monitor carbon dioxide levels on Earth and understand how greenhouse cases contribute to pollution.