The U.S. space agency, along with agencies in Europe and South Korea, is making plans to launch a fleet of air pollution sensors into space. The sensors, which are being built by NASA, the European Space Agency and the South Korean government, are meant to monitor and track pollutants from orbit. Scientists hope NASA’s contribution to the project, called TEMPO, will provide a more accurate picture of how dangerous particles crisscross the Earth.
“Air pollution is really a global pollution,” Barry Lefer, a NASA scientist and project manager for TEMPO, told The Huffington Post. “Pollution from the U.S. travels to Europe, pollution from Asia travels to the U.S. And satellites are the best way to see the long-range transportation of pollution.”
The final product, which scientists say will be a “constellation” of pollution-tracking satellites, is still years away. But NASA plans to kick off the first phase of the project in May, when it will begin collecting air pollution data from the Korean peninsula in order to fine-tune its satellite-based pollution monitors.