Air Quality

Air pollution is a significant threat to human health and our environment. Instruments on NASA satellites, along with airborne and ground-based sensors, are constantly collecting data on major pollutants in our atmosphere.

Where Does NASA Fit?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution contributes to millions of premature deaths around the world each year. Pollution also dirties our skylines and harms animal and plant life. NASA instruments — on satellites, planes, and the ground — constantly collect data on major pollutants. NASA-funded scientists track the sources and concentrations of these pollutants and their movement through the atmosphere. They provide managers and policymakers with Earth observations that can inform air quality standards, public policies, and government regulations for economic and human welfare.

Stories & News

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Curious Universe Podcast: Tiny but Mighty

Aerosols! These tiny particles, generated by everything from desert dust storms to car exhaust, play a huge role in our atmosphere, affecting our health when we breathe them in and even changing the weather.

Satellite observations show that students of color in the U.S. attend public schools with higher concentrations of air pollution than their white peers.

An Unequal Air Pollution Burden at School

Satellite observations show that students of color in the U.S. attend public schools with higher concentrations of air pollution than their white peers.

How Dust Affects the World’s Health

NASA research finds that a combination of windblown dust and human-caused particle pollution was associated with nearly 3 million premature deaths in 2019.

What is air quality?

Missions and Campaigns

NASA engineers and scientists are testing new ways to study air quality from planes and satellites.


TEMPO, or Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution, is the first space-based instrument to continuously measure air quality above North America with the resolution of a few square miles. It is a collaboration between NASA and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO).

NASA Shares First Images from US Pollution-Monitoring Instrument

On August 24, NASA released the first data maps from its new instrument launched to space earlier this year, which now is successfully transmitting information.

TEMPO: Exploring Air Quality

TEMPO will observe air quality over North America. In this video, we explore air quality, air pollution, climate change, and how TEMPO can help us move our planet towards a brighter future!

New Instrument to Track Air Pollution Hourly, Shed Light on Disparities

NASA Technologies Receive Multiple Nods in TIME Inventions of 2023

Other Air Quality Resources

Using Satellite Data to Solve Real-World Health and Air Quality Issues

NASA's Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team is using Earth observation data to help stakeholders solve health and exposure problems.

Getting to the Heart of the (Particulate) Matter

A first-ever partnership between NASA, epidemiologists and health organizations will use data from a new NASA space mission to study how particulate matter air pollution affects our health.

Photo of air pollution

NASA promotes health and air quality around the world

The Health and Air Quality program area provides policymakers with Earth observations to enhance decision-making about public health, with a special focus on environmental health and infectious diseaes.