NASA to investigate Saharan desert dust following months of air pollution

NASA to investigate Saharan desert dust following months of air pollution Credit: Twitter @NASA_es

NASA hopes to measure the mineral composition of the Saharan desert dust, as well as other dusts in arid regions of the Earth, creating a map that could improve understanding of how it affects people and communities.

NASA’s Spanish Twitter account announced the investigation into the Saharan Desert dust stating:

“The investigations that go to the @Space_Station next week will help protect astronauts during future spaceflight and understand the effects of Earth’s mineral dust on communities around the globe.”

Credit: Twitter @NASA_es

The full article by NASA continued:

The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, uses a NASA imaging spectrometer to measure the mineral composition of dust in arid regions of the Earth.

Airborne mineral dust can travel significant distances and have an impact on, among other things, our planet’s climate and vegetation. For example, dust containing dark minerals that absorb sunlight can warm an area, while light-coloured mineral dust can cool it.

Dust also affects air quality, surface conditions such as the rate of snow melt and the health of phytoplankton in the ocean. The research will collect images over a year to generate maps of mineral composition in dust-producing regions of the Earth.

Such mapping could improve our understanding of the effects of mineral dust on human populations now and in the future.

“Immune ageing affects tissue stem cells and their ability to repair tissues and organs,” stated lead researcher Sonja Schrepfer, Professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

“Our studies aim to understand clinical pathways to prevent and reverse immune cell ageing.”

NASA’s dust investigation could also lead meteorological agencies around the globe to better understand the phenomenon.

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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at