Using Satellite Data to Map Air Pollution and Improve Health


For epidemiologists studying air pollution, there’s only so much to learn at ground level. So they’ve been taking advantage of aerosol data from NASA satellites to link health outcomes with local air pollution. But only recently have NASA and epidemiologists teamed up to start the space agency’s first mission focused on health.

NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) mission, scheduled for launch in 2022, will combine the expertise of planetary scientists and epidemiologists to answer a question that, before now, has been largely impossible at a large scale: What kind of air pollutant particles is most harmful to human health?

Of the different types of air pollutants, particulate matter (PM), especially particles…



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