WATCH: Planes Studying Front Range Air Quality

Credit: CBS
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Three research aircraft have been flying over the Front Range the last few weeks — sometimes at only about 1,000 feet. The flights are testing Colorado’s air quality and sparking a lot of curiosity.

The scientists on the flying laboratories are studying not only the quality of the air, but also how to make it better, according to KKTV sister station KCNC.

The planes were on public display in Broomfield Saturday.

The planes "are measuring hundreds of different gases that contribute to kind of the whole air quality picture in the region,” Principle Investigator Frank Flocke said.

The equipment is sensitive enough to tell the difference between output from a power plant and a nail salon, he said.

Researchers will be in the skies through the middle of August measuring and testing air as they fly and hope to have a report for the public by the end of the year.