NASA To Fly Low Over Region For Air Quality Study

WASHINGTON (WJZ)—Don’t panic if you see large planes flying unusually low over Maryland roadways next week. It’s all part of a major plan by NASA to help study air pollution over major cities.

Derek Valcourt explains where you’ll be seeing some of those low-flying planes.

The study will focus on air pollution over many of Maryland’s major roads, from Baltimore’s beltway, to the 95 corridor, even over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

This is no ordinary plane, it’s a specially fitted NASA aircraft designed with equipment to measure air pollution levels in flight. And starting next week the skies over Maryland will become a pollution detection playground for the plane and for NASA scientists.

“The public I think is very interested in knowing where air pollution problems are the largest, and then they have the ability to make their own decisions about their own activities and times and places they would like to avoid,” said Dr. James Crawford, NASA atmospheric scientist.

Maryland’s Department of Environment already has six pollution monitoring stations on the ground, but they’re spread out and only can tell you pollution levels in the immediate area.

On the other hand, NASA satellites already monitor air pollution across the globe, but those readings have their own problems.

“But you can’t really tell from the satellite data itself whether that pollution is somewhere higher in the atmosphere or down near the surface,” said Dr. Kenneth Pickering, NASA atmospheric scientist.

That’s where these special planes come in.

 They’ll fly low over busy roadways collecting data and then fly in spiral patterns over the six ground monitoring stations Maryland already has in place, helping NASA scientists to determine how much air pollution is down where we breathe.

 “It’s a challenging mission,” said Rich Rodgers, NASA research pilot. “One of the most challenging because we are doing it over the top of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore this summer.”

NASA pilots are now warning Marylanders to be on the lookout as their planes fly as low as 1000 feet off the ground in the coming month.

Test flights will begin next week. NASA says in all they expect 14 science flights in July, taking their planes from Washington beltway over Baltimore and up to northeastern Maryland near the Delaware line.

The flight dates will be determined by the weather and announced by NASA by 5 p.m. the day before a flight.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • happi_flyer

    This is NASa searching for a mission. If there isn’t space exploration and work to do, then they should all save us some money and close down these feel-good missions. They cost us too much money.

    • Chuck

      You know what’s funny? I work in a bioscience building in the Houston Medical Center, where a NASA-funded Center for exploring aerospace biomedical issues related to a manned trip to Mars has just taken up most of the floor. Mars??? We can’t even get a man in orbit anymore. This place is opulent, with all the bells and whistles installed during the build-out. Money problems? What money problems?

    • Mark Matis

      James Hansen says this is essential to NASA’s mission! If they don’t do it, he won’t be able to continue getting all those illegal gifts and money he has taken:

      • havanabrownsam

        You are unbelievably brilliant! You should be writing for the Washington Examiner!!! We need another Byron York… !

  • aubreyfarmer

    Maybe NASA should talk to the Air Force and ask them to stop spraying us day after day with chemicals. Are we seeing the implementation of programs for population control? What you say! Well you might want to read some of the strategies John P. Holdren the current science czar recommends in his book Ecoscience. Just keep watching the skies. All of those funny looking clouds left behind by military aircraft aren’t condensate. Condensation dissipates. These clouds linger and slowly spread out in a thin layer until the entire sky becomes hazy. Say whatever you like, I have seen this on numerous occasions.

    • bonzomatic

      Put your tin foil hat back on, your brain might fall out…
      1.Contrails have been happening since before the jet age.
      2. People live longer now than they ever have, so if this is a means of population control, they really suck at it…

      • Jeremy Ron

        lol maybe you need a tinfoil hat, cause comtrails are normal to a planes use however chemtrails are not read a lil before u spout rubbish out your mouth and know what your talking about!!!

      • Jekyll Island

        bozo, people may live longer but the rates of getting sick or having a chronic disease has more than doubled.
        As for contrails, if you look at the higher elevations those trails dissipate fairly quickly. the “trails” at lower levels tend to hang around much longer and seem to go on for over miles.

        It could be that at lower levels in the atmosphere that is how steam dissipates or it could be something else.

        Your kind is the type that believes that our own government has our best interest at heart and it would never do anything to harm us.

        There is another kind of person who can’t believe what the government has already done to us and that no one seems to care.

        You may tell people to put their tin foil hat on while others will tell you to keep your head buried in the sand while keeping your rear end high and accessible for insertion by your government.

        But I’m willing to bet you like that anyway

      • Kerry Crandall

        You are the idiot. Do a little research on chemtrails, then see if you want to spout your uninformed drivel.

      • deanzna

        chemtrails not contrails do your homework!!!

      • lightseeker

        bonzomatic (is that a long name for “bonzo”?). I dare you to watch “What in the World are they Spraying”, and then continue to not accept the REALITY of chemtrails (contrails dissipate rather quickly, whereas chemtrails remain in the sky for hours).

        Full length YouTube video at

  • Robert

    I get it. Air moves around, so in order to test the air quality, we need to fly airplanes around.

    This is either a stupid waste or something more sinister.

  • Brad

    THis is no good. What’s going to be there conclution with all this data? We (NASA) needs more funding. And you (general public) need to stop driving your SUV’s and buy $40,000 electric cars and turn off your air conditioners

  • Bruce

    OK, so we’re going to use aircraft that pumps more pollution in the air than any other mode of transportation… to measure air pollution. Makes much more sense than using a helium filled baloon to me.


  • befitz

    ” We have found, through this project, that levels of CO2 are much higher than originally… what’s that? they installed the probes BEHIND the engine exhaust?!”

    • Harold G

      They’re going to extract every last nickel out of us before they implode our economy and set up the NWO. All of us will be paying a CO2 tax, as though CO2 is a bad thing. But then with so many of us having received a public school education, millions think Sodium Chloride are two scary words when all they refer to is common table salt. And, as for CO2, plants need it in order to survive and has always been a component of the air we breathe. I remember the song “Tax Man” in which a lyric refers to taxing air. Unbelievable that we’re now at that point. This is sick, sick, sick.

  • VaDave

    Whaddya wanna bet that the EPA will use the NASA study in an atempt to implement new regualtions!!!

  • Zexufang

    NASA – cannot go to the moon; but we can sure fly airlpanes!

    And it IS a foregone conclustio0n that (gasp) the city CO2 levels and air particulates will be above normal”..

  • We Are Change

    Just wondering if they are going to be testing for Aluminum Dioxide, Strontium and Barium Salts which are being dispersed as aerosols in a program called ‘Stratospheric Aerosol Geo-engineering’. This is a process also known as cloud seeding or what most people refer to as CHEMTRAILS!

    Yes folks, they are real. just look up the more than 1000 registered patents and you will see that they are spraying you with ALUMINUM, BARIUM & STRONTIUM!

    • Fred Jones

      Radiation is good for you. — Ann Coulter

  • Avery Won

    Make no mistake, whatever they find or “Claim” to find it’s nothing but a pretext to regulate you in every way – the global warming hoax was exposed as something they made up. It was actually over 4 deg warmer 1,100 years ago and it was a good thing. Two years ago when AGW collapsed, they started claiming we were maybe too clean and we needed smokestacks dotting the oceans pumping out pollution 24/7??? – That didn’t fly, so now they are back to air pollution is the reason they get to decide what you get to do, keep or get.

  • Joecool

    Obama already did this over NYC with Air Force One, didn’t he?

  • dh3873

    Obama says to NASA; “get me some good data to support my plans to raise your electricy rates ‘sky high’ through global warming and I will fund your stupid department, if you don’t, i’ll fund someone who will”. You know, that is exacly how it works in DC around the beltway.

  • bill bixby

    Air pollution could be causing illness? Hmm, I thought it was just smoking that caused cancer. It certainly isn’t all the pesticides sprayed on the food or the pesticides in the tobacco so no reason to go after companies such as Mansanto who make the poisons. There is more hypocrisy going on in this country world all in their attempt to usher in their beloved godless one world govt.

  • Chris Jensen

    Who is going to test the air behind the jets?

  • Lauren Barnes

    Yes BEHIND the engine exhaust. How do I know? One of these sniffing planes flew over my house yesterday.

    I’m in Missouri. I would bet these planes have been operating for a lot longer than what we are being told, and I’d be very suprised if they weren’t sniffing for radiation leaks in the air from our nuclear plants.

    We already know the majority of nuclear plants in the US are leaking into our ground water. If you missed that bit of good news just search “Tritium leaks found at many nuke sites”.

    Good luck III

  • Bill

    We’ve been hit with wave after wave of radiation from Fukushima due to the Westerly winds that continuously sweep across the USA. Will the NASA plane check for radioactive isotopes in our air? Of course not. Doing so would actually be a service to the American people. So, what’s the intent of these flyovers? I suspect we’re being desensitized to having the presence of our government in our faces 24/7.

    • Mark Matis

      You might want to remove your lips from Al Gore:
      The fashionable thing these days is to brew the fresh hot BLSCK tea.

  • david

    Could someone please pass the Fukishima, my Kool aid is a bit tart this morning

    • Jeremiah

      If ignorance is bliss, David, you are one happy idiot.

  • BlownfuelCoupe

    Do us All a favor, go fly this thing over China and park it there.

  • BlownfuelCoupe

    I know, how about using this valuable tool to tell us what actually is in all those Chem-Trails I am seeing this morning.

  • Forrest Higgs

    wonders if he is the only one who despises NASA’s assumed role as enabler for enviroNazis?

  • just another peasant

    I wonder what they are really doing?

  • J.Harnes

    NASA made Americans proud.

    After federal officials ended the key mission of manned space flight and turned NASA over to environmental advocates to promote their agenda it is beginning to look like a total waste of money. I want my old NASA back!

    After the next election I hope the new federal administration fires the ADVOCATES who have decided for our nation that the role of NASA needed to be changed to meet their agenda!

  • Tom Francis

    If you work for NASA and you are not trying to figure out how to get us to Mars, then please quit your job ans stop wasting my money. Con I get some adults in charge, please?

  • GovWaste

    So this is costing us billions of dollars to tell us something we already know, wow money well spent, not!

  • Lou

    Funny that NASA is flying the Navy’s P-3 aircraft which emits very high levels of smoke. Didn’t NASA know this before they selected this aircraft for the test? They should have asked the Navy!

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