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Osan hosts ASIA-AQ, educating locals on air quality

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Aubree Owens
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Institute of Environmental Research are collaborating to execute the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality mission, or ASIA-AQ, an international cooperative field study designed to address local air quality challenges. During their visit from Feb. 15 to March 13, 2024, the team has conducted an open house, student engagement and several research flights at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

More than 200 participants with ASIA-AQ from NASA, NIER, students and other researchers are traveling to four locations across Asia, including Osan AB, to collect data by utilizing aircraft, satellites, and ground-based instruments and held various events allowing subject matter experts to share their efforts in collecting detailed air quality atmospheric data.

“Our purpose is to improve the understanding of the factors that control air quality,” said Jim Crawford, principal investigator for the ASIA-AQ mission with NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

Osan AB hosted an open house where ASIA-AQ subject matter experts shared recent findings and new initiatives to 100 mission partners, 50 local and foreign media members and other event attendees.

Additionally, NASA representatives conducted a learning engagement for 120 students from Osan Middle High School and local Korean Nationals, showing school children that anyone can be a scientist, and connecting weather to air pollution and educating them on why it matters.

“This event is important because it’s a chance to involve local students in the scientific process and engage them with a mission that’s happening in their own backyard,” said Dr. Brenna Biggs, NASA airborne science program science communications lead.

Research flights taken during the ASIA-AQ campaign from the ROK were solely conducted out of Osan AB. Two NASA science aircraft and four local research aircraft were used, performing multiple flights, and collecting data over nearly four weeks.

“This is the first time that a campaign has been done with such a large amount of international collaboration in not just the ROK, but in so many other Asian countries as well,” said Biggs.