A miniaturized aerosol spectrometer developed by scientists in NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Laboratory reached new heights on Monday, October 5.
A miniaturized aerosol spectrometer developed by scientists in NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Laboratory reached new heights on Monday, October 5 when it was delivered by a cargo capsule to the International Space Station orbiting more than 250 miles above Earth’s surface.
The device, the Portable Optical Particle Spectrometer, or POPS, will help monitor air quality in the main living area of the space station.
Developed by NOAA physicist RuShan Gao, POPS uses an on-board laser to measure and count aerosol particles between 140 nanometers to 2.5 micrometers in diameter. A micrometer is 1/1000th of a millimeter. A nanometer is 1,000 times smaller than that. At six inches long and 1.3 pounds, POPS is about one tenth the size and one fifth the cost of comparable instruments.
The instrument was integrated into Aerosol Dynamics Inc’s Ambient Particle Monitor, and ferried to the space station along with four tons of science experiments, crew supplies and station hardware on the Cygnus resupply capsule carried on an Antares rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.
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Image via NOAA.