Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Deep Carbon Observatory

This new program aims to revolutionize our understanding of the location and behavior of all carbon on Earth. Through an international network of laboratories across a number of scientific disciplines, the Deep Carbon Observatory will look at the role of carbon in numerous processes; including the origin of life on this planet, the chemical composition of the Earth’s core, and the distribution and deposition of fossil fuels. A three-year 2009 grant to the Carnegie Institution of Washington supported the initial phase of the program, which focused on developing instruments to meet the severe technical challenges associated with probing the Earth's deep interior, and on building an organizational infrastructure to set strategic priorities, engage a network of researchers, and secure funding commitments from institutional partners. The project is projected to run until 2019.