This spectacular view of a large glacier in British Columbia, Canada, was captured from NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during one of the ASCENDS II atmospheric sampling instrument validation flights. Credit: NSERC / Emily Schaller

(PhysOrg.com) -- Twenty scientists went aloft aboard NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory in late July to conduct an airborne test of four very different laser techniques for remotely measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide and two laser instruments that remotely measured oxygen. The DC-8 also carried two “truth” instruments – devices that are known to produce accurate data – that took air samples to be compared with the laser measurements.