Scientists are closer than ever to understanding how microscopic airborne particles shape the Earth, and the West.
by Jon Napolitano
Mass spectrometers are machines that take lasers, a vacuum chamber, and high voltage plates, and use them to tell you what something is made of.
So these folks miniaturized the machine, stuck it on an airplane, and flew around to see what the sky is made of—in real time.
This is the kind of basic rule breaking innovation we like to see, and it’s having profound effects on how we understand the formation of clouds and the interrelationships between the climates of continents.
Understanding these things can lead to better models for predicting changes to our climate, and may even give us tools to engineer the skies themselves.