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Aura data validation will be performed by comparing its to measurements collected during the same period of time with instruments whose performance is well known. These correlative measurements will be taken in nearly the same air mass in space and time that Aura instruments will be measuring.

Correlative measurements are made with a variety of instruments from the ground, aircraft, or high altitude balloons. These measurements could either be in-situ where the local air is sampled directly for content or remotely sensed using instruments similar to those flying on Aura.

Sky viewing ground-based radiometers and spectrometers can make column measurements similar to those flying on Aura. Lidars can measure temperature and some trace gas constituent profiles. Airborne measurement campaigns deploy instruments on aircraft and balloons. Aircraft such as the DC-8 (medium altitude) and the WB-57 (high altitude) carry airborne spectrometers, radiometers, and air samplers to measure upper atmospheric constituents.

Aircraft operations and measurement capabilities are managed by NASA Ames Research Center. Up to date information on aircraft campaigns can be found at the AVE web site.

Aura measurements may also be validated by using data from other spacecraft, which will be flying during the Aura time frame, and making similar measurements.

The Aura Validation Working Group has prepared the following reference documents which describe Aura validation requirements and the White Papers describing the three major validation aircraft campaign missions.

+ Aura Science Validation Plan - Version 1 : [PDF]

Image of Lidar Measurement

Lidar measurements can probe the atmosphere from the ground

Image of Launch Preperation

Launch preparation of high flying balloon capable of carrying several instruments

Image of DC-8
The DC-8 carries instruments to measure upper atmosphere chemistry
Image of ER-2
The ER-2 carries instruments to measure upper atmosphere chemistry