BOULDER - Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has received a three-year, $4.3 million contract from NASA to build an instrument that will collect data to better understand how wind transports aerosols and water vapor, affecting air quality and cloud formations.

The instrument is named High-spectral-Resolution-Lidar for Aerosols Winds and Clouds - Using the Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar, or HAWC-OAWL.

It is one of 17 technology proposals selected under NASA's Instrument Incubator Program.  HAWC-OAWL will help enable future earth science measurements and visionary concepts through the Earth Science Technology Office in support of NASA's Earth Science Division.

"The HAWC-OAWL measurements will help scientists better understand how co-located aerosols and winds interact in cloud formations," said Ball Aerospace's principal investigator Sara Tucker in a statement. "Understanding this interaction is critically important for predicting cloud properties and brightness."

Ball Aerospace is a subsidiary from Broomfield-based Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL).