Author Topic: NASA and Italian Space Agency Join Forces on Air Pollution Mission  (Read 1169 times)

Offline russianhalo117

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NASA and Italian Space Agency Join Forces on Air Pollution Mission

March 8, 2023

The two agencies are partnering on a satellite to understand the effects of different types of particle pollution on human health.

NASA and the Italian space agency Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) are partnering to build and launch the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) mission, an effort to investigate the health impacts of tiny airborne particles polluting some of the world’s most populous cities. MAIA marks the first NASA mission whose primary goal is to benefit societal health, as well as the first time epidemiologists and public health researchers have been directly involved in development of a satellite mission.

Set to launch before the end of 2024, the MAIA observatory will consist of a satellite known as PLATiNO-2 provided by ASI and a science instrument built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The mission will collect and analyze data from the observatory, sensors on the ground, and atmospheric models.

Those results will then be related to human birth, death, and hospitalization records to answer pressing questions about the health impacts of solid and liquid particles that contaminate the air we breathe. These particles, called aerosols, have been linked to respiratory diseases such as asthma and lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke, and adverse reproductive and birth outcomes, including premature birth and low infant birth weight.

“Breathing airborne pollution particles has been associated with many health problems, but the toxicity of different particle mixtures has been less well understood,” said David Diner, NASA’s principal investigator for MAIA. “Working together with colleagues in Italy and around the world, we expect that MAIA will help us understand how airborne particle pollution puts our health at risk and potentially provide insights that will inform the decisions of public health officials and other policymakers.”

(740 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, the mission will also collect some data over 30 secondary target areas throughout the world.

Epidemiologists on the science team intend to study the effects of short-term exposure to particulate pollution over the course of days, as well as chronic exposure, which can last many years. Also of interest is “sub-chronic” exposure, such as the monthslong inhaling of pollutants that might occur during pregnancy, which can lead to adverse health effects for a mother and infant.

More About the Mission
MAIA is a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and ASI. JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, leads the U.S. component of the project and is providing the observatory’s science instrument and hosting the instrument operations center. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program (SCaN) will provide uplink and downlink services for commands and data, and NASA’s Atmospheric Science Data Center will provide computational resources to generate and archive science products. ASI will provide the PLATiNO-2 spacecraft, contribute launch services, and host the mission operations center.

To learn more about MAIA, visit:

NASA JPL Press Release


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