NASA launches Rocket to produce Colourful Artificial Clouds

The NASA has successfully launched Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket that created colourful artificial clouds visible in the skies of the US. The rocket was launched from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Salient Facts

The rocket during the 8-minute flight had released 10 canisters about the size of a soft drink into space. It was ejected about 9 to 19 kilometres away from the 300-kg main payload.

The canisters deployed blue-green and red vapour that formed artificial clouds visible in the skies of the United States from New York to North Carolina. The artificial clouds are formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide. The vapour tracers will help in understanding the movement of the particles in the ionosphere. It will help to learn more about the movement of the air currents at that altitude.

The artificial clouds or vapour tracers will help in understanding the movement of the particles in the ionosphere. It will help to learn more about the movement of the air currents at that altitude. They will permit scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space. The multi-canister ejection system will also help scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously possible.  Sounding rockets have been in use for more than 40 years to carry science payloads on scientific missions that usually last five to 20 minutes.

Sounding rockets have been in use for more than 40 years to carry science payloads on scientific missions that usually last five to 20 minutes.

Ionosphere

The ionosphere is called so because it is ionised by solar radiation. It plays an important part in atmospheric electricity and forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere. Ionosphere stretches from 50 to 1,000 km and typically overlaps both the exosphere and the thermosphere. It has practical importance because it influences, for example, radio propagation on the Earth. It is also responsible for auroras.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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