Atmospheric Measurements


Studies of the atmospheres of planets in our solar system (including Earth and Mars).

Earth studies focus on satellite-based measurements of the atmosphere, where we have developed capabilities for making a number of key measurements of pollutants.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory was awarded a NASA space flight project to build the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument, the first NASA Earth Venture Instrument. Earth Venture missions, part of the Earth System Science Pathfinder program, are small, targeted science investigations that complement NASA's larger research mission.

TEMPO will be the first space-based instrument to monitor major air pollutants across the North American continent hourly during daytime. The instrument, to be completed in 2017, will share a ride on a commercial satellite to a geostationary orbit about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth's equator.

Mars research is focused on Martian dust storms / clouds and Mars atmospheric dynamics. Spacecraft observations and the Mars General Circulation Model is used to perform data analysis and numerical modeling.


Dr. Kelly Chance, Dr. Iouli Gordon, Dr. Xiong Liu, Dr. Caroline Nowlan, Dr. Larry Rothman, Dr. Huiqun (Helen) Wang and collaborators