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NASA Langley Science Directorate
Langley Research Center
Science Mission Directorate
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Who We Are

Atmospheric scientists at NASAís Langley Research Center conduct research from the land, sea, air and space to understand the atmospheric effects caused by volcanic eruptions, industrial pollution, changes in the planetís energy balance and other events. They also support application programs, the worldwide distribution of NASA data and educational outreach activities.

Scientists in the Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, the Climate Science Branch, the Atmospheric Composition Branch and the Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) participate in field experiments to validate instruments for a better understanding of the atmosphere. They also collect information from ground-based instruments as well as those on aircraft and balloons. Data from selected satellite instruments are available worldwide through the ASDC. In addition to supporting satellite-based missions, we work on many other projects that build on the unique experiences and strengths of Langley's atmospheric scientists, engineers and computer scientists.

Science research at Langley, specifically in atmospheric science, can trace its beginnings to the Center's aeronautical studies. In the 1960s, scientists began exploring how atmospheric dynamics, density and temperature varied with altitude to understand their effects on aircraft performance. Langley scientists expanded this effort in the 1970s to include atmospheric chemistry research and then shifted their research emphasis to the environment. Rich in aeronautical heritage, Langley's science research impacts how all of NASA studies the Earth and other planets.

The Science Directorate provides significant support to the Science Mission Directorate's applied science program, particularly in the areas of air quality management, energy forecasting, aviation safety, community preparedness for disaster management and environmental predictions for homeland security. Recently, a new emphasis has been placed on the synergy between Earth and space science, and Langley has been at the forefront of this exploration with a science-driven mission to investigate the atmosphere, clouds, haze layers, surface and evolution of Titan, a satellite of Saturn.