NASA launches device to monitor air pollution from space
Science & Technology
14th Apr, 2023
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from Florida carrying a new NASA device that can track air pollution over North America.
About the technology:
- The Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument will allow scientists to monitor air pollutants and their emission sources from space more comprehensively than ever before, down to the neighbourhood level.
- NASA’s TEMPO project manager, the instrument will measure pollution and air quality across greater North America on an hourly basis during the daytime.
- A unique feature of TEMPO, which is about the size of a washing machine and has been described as a chemistry laboratory in space, is that it will be hosted on an Intelsat communications satellite in geostationary orbit.
How it is different?
- TEMPO will be able to measure atmospheric pollution down to a spatial resolution of 4 square miles (10 square kilometers), or neighborhood level.
- Existing pollution-monitoring satellites are in low Earth orbit, which means they can only provide observations once a day at a fixed time.
By monitoring the effects of everything from rush-hour traffic to pollution from forest fires and volcanoes, NASA data will help improve air quality across North America and protect our planet.