The ozone layer, acting as Earth’s sunscreen, is the protective lining of stratospheric gas in the atmosphere that prevents a barrage of ultraviolet radiation from reaching Earth’s surface, where it can cause, among other things, skin cancer and crop damage.

When research in the 1970s and 80s showed the ozone layer was in decline, the reaction was swift – the international community adopted a treaty, the Montreal Protocol, to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. NASA continues to monitor changes in the ozone layer with a series of space-based instruments, and the impact of this ongoing research will be the focus of NASA Langley Research Center’s next Colloquium Series Lecture, scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Langley and again at the Virginia Air and Space Center, both in Hampton, Virginia.

NASA Langley physicists Robert Damadeo and Charles Hill will give a lecture, ”The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment: A NASA Langley Legacy,” at 2 p.m. in Langley’s Pearl Young Theater as part of the center’s Colloquium Series lecture. They will also give the talk at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air and Space Center as part of the Sigma Series of lectures.

The Sigma Series talk is free and open to the public, while the lecture at Langley is for center employees and the news media. Media wishing to attend the Langley lecture should contact Eric Gillard at 757-864-7423 or by noon EST Friday, Oct. 5, for credentials and entry to Langley.

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiments (SAGE) are a series of Earth-orbiting instruments that have observed atmospheric ozone and small atmospheric particles called aerosols. With measurements going back nearly 40 years, data from these instruments have contributed to numerous scientific discoveries in the global chemistry and dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere.

This work continues with the deployment of SAGE III to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017 aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. As an active Earth-observing science mission, SAGE III/ISS extends the long legacy of global satellite atmospheric measurements from NASA Langley. With the ozone layer only starting to show signs of recovery, researchers are looking forward to new and innovative ways of monitoring its health in the decades to come.

Damadeo and Hill are working on the SAGE III/ISS mission as the lead algorithm scientist and deputy project scientist, respectively. They are also co-principal investigators on a project developing a prototype for a potential future CubeSat SAGE instrument.

NASA Langley’s Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures provide monthly talks and demonstrations related to science and technology. The lectures are intended to stimulate the creative processes of Langley employees and enhance the quality of life at Langley by providing more opportunities for learning. For more information about NASA Langley’s Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures, visit: