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NASA Rocket to Create Clouds Tuesday

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Clara Moskowitz
Space.com
Tuesday, Sept 15th, 2009

A rocket experiment set to launch Tuesday aims to create artificial clouds at the outermost layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

The project, called the Charged Aerosol Release Experiment (CARE), plans to trigger cloud formation around the rocket’s exhaust particles. The clouds are intended to simulate naturally-occurring phenomena called noctilucent clouds, which are the highest clouds in the atmosphere.

“This is really essentially at the boundary of space,” said Wayne Scales, a scientist at Virginia Tech who will use computer models to study the physics of the artificial dust cloud as it’s released. “Nothing like this has been done before and that’s why everybody’s really excited about it.”

The experiment is the first attempt to create artificial noctilucent clouds. A previous spacecraft, called Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM), launched in 2007 to observe the natural clouds from space.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 3:41 am





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