NASA planes measure air pollution in Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Bakersfield residents might see large aircraft flying in the area, thanks to NASA.

The planes are helping scientists better understand how to measure and forecast air quality globally from space, according to NASA. The research flights will be conducted between Bakersfield and Fresno.

The planes are equipped with scientific instruments. One aircraft will fly within 1,000 feet of the ground.

The aircraft are part of NASA's five-year DISCOVER-AQ - Deriving Information on Surface conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality - study.

NASA researchers are working to improve the ability of satellites to consistently observe air quality in the lowest part of the atmosphere. If scientists could better observe pollution from space, they would be able to make better air quality forecasts and more accurately determine where pollution is coming from and why emissions vary, according to NASA.