Ok, maybe the picture is deceiving. No, the next space shuttle will not be blasting off from the glorious Boise Airport. However, if you've been anywhere near there lately you may have noticed some really official looking aircraft that is in town from NASA itself.

With all of the chatter going on about Area 51, I guess I should clarify things on that front, too. YES, we all want to SEE THEM ALIENS. NO, NASA isn't sneaking them into Boise before the major "raid" scheduled for this fall (if you're totally behind on that and think I'm crazy... no, it's real and you can read about it HERE).

It's a fascinating effort lead by scientists at NASA that want to know more about wildfires and their effects on the environment. Smoke that goes up into the air in our area, or from anywhere in the West, really, can reach as far as Europe, making it a global issue that NASA wants to know more about. Soot also has absorption qualities that, if in the air, can cause a warming effect and in some instances manipulate climates. While NASA can monitor smoke from space, they can't measure what's IN the smoke and get a closer grasp on it without sharing the air. That's what these high tech planes are in town to do.

Welcome to Boise, NASA. Leave the Aliens at Area 51.