NASA's DISCOVER-AQ air quality field campaign is scheduled to take to the skies over the Baltimore-Washington traffic corridor on Thursday, June 30, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT as part of a mission to enhance the capability of satellites to measure ground-level air quality from space.
NASA's P-3B research aircraft will fly at low altitudes over the northeast Maryland study region. The P-3B is a large, 117-foot, four-engine turboprop, carrying nine scientific instruments. It will fly as low as 1,000 feet above the ground along a route that will take it over major roadway traffic corridors. The P-3B also will make spiral ascents and descents over six locations where air-quality measurements are being made from ground stations.
Approximately 14 DISCOVER-AQ flights are planned through July when weather conditions are appropriate. NASA will announce each flight by 5 p.m. the day before the aircraft is scheduled to fly. The flights will occur between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
DISCOVER-AQ, which stands for Deriving Information on Surface conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality, is a NASA Earth Science Division research effort conducted in collaboration with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several universities.
A detailed map of the P-3B's low-altitude flight path is available at:
For more information about the DISCOVER-AQ mission, visit: