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Air pollution project harnesses the power of backyard science

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Right now, a handful of motivated Fort Collins citizens are doing something a little out of the ordinary. They’re collecting cutting-edge scientific data from their backyards that may soon help NASA create maps of global air pollution.

Right now, a handful of motivated Fort Collins citizens are doing something a little out of the ordinary. They’re collecting cutting-edge scientific data from their backyards that may soon help NASA create maps of global air pollution.

The volunteers are part of a network of citizen scientists for a Colorado State University-led project called CEAMS: Citizen-Enabled Aerosol Measurements for Satellites.

The goal of CEAMS is to improve understanding of local air quality through dispersed, ground-based measurements. Data on this scale could eventually help NASA satellites provide higher-resolution air quality data than is possible today.

“NASA is interested in solving global problems,” said CEAMS leader John Volckens, CSU Energy Institute researcher and professor of mechanical engineering. “Most governments can’t afford to monitor air pollution at all.” Yet air pollution is a leading cause of death and disease on the planet – responsible for more deaths worldwide than HIV and malaria combined.

Continue reading at Colorado State University

Image: Participants deploying more devices today.  CREDITS: CEAMS team