NASA rocket launch to create colorful clouds in space

NASA rocket launch to create colorful clouds in space

NASA rocket launch to create colorful clouds in space

The rocket lifted off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, and its flight lasted about 8 minutes. The goal of this admittedly suspicious-sounding activity was not to deliver mind-control agents into our air supply, but rather, to track the motions of particles in the electrically-charged portion of our atmosphere called the ionosphere.

A total of ten soft drink-sized canisters were released in the air at an altitude of 96 to 124 miles.

The space agency has not stood still while waiting for this mission to get underway.

Sounding rockets have been used since the 1950s to study the upper atmosphere and ionosphere as part of scientists' efforts to understand the Earth's near-space environment. Check out viewers' shots of the vapor tracers on NASA's Wallops Facebook page.

A Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket carrying the RockOn/RockSat-C payload was successfully launched at 5:30 a.m. EDT (09:30 GMT) on Thursday, June 22. And NASA's sounding rockets release a whole lot less of these chemicals than a big fireworks show. And thanks to a new method of releasing the canisters, the clouds could be seen for many miles around, from North Carolina to NY.

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The test was rescheduled 12 times after its initial May 31 launch date to ensure optimal weather conditions.

The artificial clouds will glow with brilliant colour as the vapour interacts with elements in the atmosphere, allowing scientists to track the movement of particles.

Since the canisters were released about 100 miles (160 kilometers) above the ground, the space agency says they "pose absolutely no hazard to residents along the mid-Atlantic coast".

'The canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch blue-green and red vapour forming artificial clouds, ' according to NASA.

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