NASA research flight around the world pauses in Anchorage

Air pollution can be obvious when it is concentrated around cities and industrial centers. But what about the big parts of the atmosphere that are far from freeways or factories? Finding the answer to that question is the purpose of a NASA project that is sending an equipment-laden and scientist-packed DC-8 passenger jet around the world, over the middle of the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans, with brief stops in Anchorage and other locations.

NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory is parked inside the FedEx hangar as scientists and mission personnel tend to instruments during a stop in Anchorage on Tuesday while on a 28-day round-the-world Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission. (Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News)