NASA is going to be attempting a rather amazing feat, and you can tune in live to watch it all happen from the comfort of your home.
NASA is about to attempt something rather extraordinary, and they’re inviting the public to watch them do it live. NASA is about to put on a colorful cloud show shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday at Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia when a sounding rocket launches.
The 670-pound rocket will be on a mission to support studies of the ionosphere and aurora, but it will also put on quite a show when it launches thanks to 10 small canisters. The canisters will be deployed about 5 minutes after launch, about 100 miles above the ground, and they will leave blue-green and red vapor clouds. To watch the show, go to NASA’s website at about the time of the launch.
It’s more than just a show, as the experiment will allow NASA scientists to track particle motions, and scattering them across the sky will enable the agency to study a larger area. The colors are caused by an interaction between barium, strontium, and cupric-oxide.
“The canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch blue-green and red vapor forming artificial clouds. These clouds or vapor tracers allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space,” the NASA statement reads. “The development of the multi-canister or ampule ejection system will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously allowed when deploying the vapor just from the main payload. Ground cameras will be stationed at Wallops and in Duck, North Carolina, to view the vapor tracers. Clear skies are preferred, but not required, at both sites for the launch to occur.”