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NASA's new mission examines pollution

April 1, 2008 11:20:42 AM PDT
NASA starts a new mission Tuesday. A flying science lab will take off from Palmdale and head to the Arctic. NASA's newest flying laboratory is a retired commercial airliner.

The scientists will fly to Fairbanks, Alaska, as part of a summer-long research project to find out how much man-made pollution reaches the Arctic.

The scientists will collect air samples in flight from sensors outside the plane, and the sensors will provide real-time data on chemicals in the atmosphere and how pollution is changing it.

"There's a lot of questions about how much NOx and how much ozone production you can have up at the pole, and because the pole is such a sensitive area in terms of like, if all the ice melts, that's going to have global ramifications," said Anne Perring, a Cal Berkeley chemist.

The plane will fly every other day over the Arctic from Fairbanks, Alaska, and the scientists will send back data for analysis.


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