Platform: NASA DC-8

NASA DC-8 at sunset
Photo: C.J. Moeser, JetPhotos

To meet the overall AEROMMA science objectives the NASA DC-8 aircraft will be deployed out of Palmdale, CA and either Dayton or Columbus, OH. The combination of these locations provides the ideal access to both remote marine regions as well as populated urban centers, by minimizing the required aircraft transit times to regions of interest. With the long range of the NASA DC-8, all major urban areas in the western half of the U.S., marine flights to Alaska, the equator, and the Pacific can be reached from Palmdale and all major urban areas in the eastern half of the U.S. from Dayton, OH.

Palmdale, CA has been selected as the initial base of operations due to its proximity to marine environments with limited anthropogenic influence off the western coast of the U.S. In the near field, we expect elevated marine sulfur chemistry in coastal regions, which is a common feature globally, and was validated for Coastal CA during an AEROMMA concept flight performed based out of Palmdale, CA during the NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) project in September 2019. The range of the NASA DC-8 provides the opportunity to conduct operations ranging from the North Pacific in the Gulf of Alaska to the equatorial regions of interest. Palmdale, CA will also provide the NASA DC-8 access to the urban areas of Los Angeles and flight opportunities in the California Central Valley to investigate agricultural influences. Additional urban flight targets based out of Palmdale include Las Vegas, NV and Salt Lake City, UT. The Salton Sea, where high DMS and halogen emissions have been previously observed, provides an additional region of interest to investigate sulfur oxidation in a region impacted by urban and agricultural emissions.

From either Dayton or Columbus, OH the NASA DC-8 can survey all the major urban areas on the east coast such as New York, Chicago, and Toronto, together with the agriculture in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois and other cities such as Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas. Anthropogenic outflow on the Eastern coast of the US provides ideal conditions to study the composition and aging of urban emission. The TROPOMI monthly average NO2 map clearly shows the large urban areas that will be investigated during AEROMMA.

NASA DC-8 landing
Photo: C.J. Moeser, JetPhotos

NASA operates a highly modified Douglas DC-8 jetliner as a flying science laboratory in the Airborne Science Program under the NASA Science Mission Directorate. The DC-8 airborne science laboratory used for this study is based at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) facility in Palmdale, CA.

NASA DC-8 Instrument Payload