Mar 20, 2023

NASA and Other Agencies Have a New Pollution Eye in the Sky

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TEMPO will study pollutants like asthma-inducing nitrogen dioxide and cancer-causing formaldehyde.

A new space instrument called TEMPO will target North America’s air pollution problem, and highlights one of its big challenges.

The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring Pollution instrument, or TEMPO, will gather pollution data across North America. On Tuesday, representatives from NASA and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (part of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian in Cambridge, Massachusetts) spoke about the soon-to-launch project, in an event held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Atmospheric physicists and NASA officials on Tuesday called this a major step forward in pollution monitoring. TEMPO will let scientists see emissions as they occur throughout the day, hour by hour, instead of a single sampling. The project involves members from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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