DISCOVER-AQ: A Focus on Air Quality
DISCOVER-AQ is taking a closer look at the air quality near the surface of the Earth,
helping us better understand the components that make up the air we breathe.
Overview of the mission
DISCOVER-AQ stands for Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and
Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality. It is a four-year campaign
led by NASA to improve the use of satellites to monitor air quality for public health
and to better understand what’s happening with the air quality at the surface of the Earth where we breathe.
This September DISCOVER-AQ scientists will be measuring air quality in Houston, TX!
Scientists will use a variety of techniques to measure air quality including instruments
aboard NASA aircraft, at ground stations, and onboard tethered weather balloons.
The measurements will help to shed light on how satellites could be used to make similar,
consistent measurements over time, with the ultimate goal of putting better data in
the hands of policymakers and elected officials.
Free Opportunities for Teachers & Students
There are a number of opportunities for teachers and students to get involved in the DISCOVER-AQ campaign in Texas!
GLOBE Program Workshops
The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program
is an international program that promotes collaboration among students, teachers and scientists to conduct inquiry-based investigations about our environment.
Teachers can attend GLOBE training workshops to learn how to make scientific measurements using standardized GLOBE protocols.
There will be two atmosphere- and DISCOVER-AQ-focused GLOBE workshops in Texas this summer. They will take place at Texas Tech University-Junction Campus (8/6) and at The University of Houston (8/15).
Details and registration for the workshops can be found on the
GLOBE Program Workshops & Training Sessions webpage.
For questions regarding the workshops please contact Linda Edwards at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 325-446-2301.
Students can help collect relevant atmosphere data during the campaign.
GLOBE schools should regularly observe and report the following
GLOBE Atmosphere Protocols:
In addition to these protocols, students may consider taking pictures of clouds and observing sky color and visibility.
Atmosphere observations should take place as often as possible (daily if possible) during the month of September 2013.
- Clouds & Contrails (Type and Cover)
- Temperature (current air temperature and the maximum and minimum air temperatures for the previous 24 hr)
- Relative Humidity
Chat with a Scientist & Flight Tracker Tool
Students will have the opportunity to chat with scientists in real time,
while the scientists are in-flight and making measurements using an educational flight tracker.
Classroom chats are coordinated based on teacher’s availability and
flight schedules and you do not have to be in Texas to participate in this activity!
To receive updates regarding how to participate in the Chat with a Scientist activity, please contact Amber Richards at
Hand-held Air Quality Instruments for Use in Classrooms
The DISCOVER-AQ team has a limited number of CairClip hand-held air quality sensors that are available
for teachers and students to use during the month of September. We’ll be coordinating the use of the
instruments with schools selected within the flight path.
For questions regarding DISCOVER-AQ and future education
and outreach opportunities, please contact:
Middle & High
Teachers can use the following NASA lessons and activities in the classroom to address concepts related to air quality: