While thousands of people spout hot air about whether there's any such thing as global warming, Japanese space-scientists have launched a satellite to accurately measure it. That's why they're awesome space-scientists while the others are busy misspelling their angry comments. The Ibuki satellite has successfully deployed its solar panels and is all set to watch us for the next five years.
The Ibuki is armed with optical sensors which can measure methane and carbon dioxide levels. The problem with existing ground-based monitoring stations? Well, the clue is in the question. Once you build a monitoring facility it's pretty hard to pick it up and drive around with a building on your back, and many locations either can't afford such a station or don't want to build a messenger they'll only have to shoot later.
The Ibuki can instead log incontrovertible evidence, observing over fifty thousand locations every hundred minutes. It's pretty much the best measurement you can get short of confiscating the atmosphere and sticking it through a spectrometer. Whether the data will support the current greenhouse gas scenarios or suggest that something else is taking place remains to be seen, but whatever it says people will have to listen or brand themselves as utterly ignorable from then on. When someone actually comes back with numbers based on "leaving the planet for a better view," you either accept them or put on your novelty "I ignore what doesn't suit me" baseball cap (with complimentary blinkers).
In an excellently efficient touch, this project to police pollution piggy-backed seven other satellites on the same rocket - a rocket which makers claim was the smallest and cheapest space-launch currently in operation. It seems that the Japanese are extending their reputation for making things smaller and better to space.
Posted by Luke McKinney.
Ibuki Environment Probe http://www.physorg.com/news151918774.html