NASA Creates Artificial Clouds Over the Eastern US

NASA Creates Artificial Clouds Over the Eastern US

The aim of NASA's Thursday morning launch is to further study the ionosphere, a layer of the Earth's atmosphere that is ionized - ionization refers to an atom receiving a positive or negative charge and becoming, yep, ions - by solar and cosmic radiation.

Early Thursday morning, some may see colorful clouds as a result of a rocket launch by NASA.

The mission was launched atop a two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility (the 15th flight of one of these rockets from Wallops Island) on the eastern Virginia shore. These canisters deployed blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds, which allowed scientists to track particle motions. During the flight, which lasted just eight minutes, 10 canisters filled with chemicals called vapor tracers were released and formed the clouds.

Time-lapse footage of the event shows the vapour changing colours as it is released into the air and interacts with the atmosphere.




The clouds it created were visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from North Carolina to NY, and could be seen as far west as Charlottesville, Virginia, according to NASA.

"The tracers will be released at altitudes 96 to 124 miles high and pose no hazard to residents along the mid-Atlantic coast".

NASA hopes that scientists will be able to use this multi-canister or ampule ejection system to get data from a much larger area than was previously possible.

The launch delays started on May 31, with the last attempt, on June 24, foiled by extensive cloud cover.

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