NASA plans to measure hydrocarbons and nitrous oxide by flying as low as 1,000 feet and as high as 26,000 feet
NASA will measure air pollution levels at different heights above the Bay Area in an effort to detect whether they are close to the Earth’s surface — where humans breathe.
Satellites are typically used to measure air quality, but a major issue with this method is that they cannot tell whether pollution is close to the ground where people breathe or if it’s higher in the atmosphere.
NASA is working to change that now with its DISCOVER-AQ campaign, which stands for Deriving Information on Surface conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality. The program was launched by NASA in 2011.
NASA, which partnered with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for this particular flight, will use planes to fly at various altitudes over the Bay Area to predict air pollution levels in regards to wind patterns, time of day, etc. It plans to measure hydrocarbons and nitrous oxide by flying as low as 1,000 feet and as high as 26,000 feet.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District paid $28,000 for the Bay Area flight.