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NASA is Putting Colorful Clouds in the Sky Because Science

NASA is Putting Colorful Clouds in the Sky Because Science

As it stands now, nature is already doing a commendable job at making sure the sky looks pretty, or at least interesting, pretty much all the time. It’s gray and brooding when it rains, it’s blue and filled with fluffy white clouds on a nice day, and it can adopt a bunch of colors during sunrise and sunset. The sky is perhaps the most aesthetic part of the natural world, and yet, NASA is about to do something that, dare we say, will make the sky a lot cooler, if only for a short while.

The Malemute sounding rocket is scheduled for launch on June 11 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wattsville, Virginia. Those close enough to the launch site — estimated to be the approximate area between New York and South Carolina — will be able to see a series of artificial, colorful, luminescent clouds at some point between 9:04 and 9:19 p.m. EDT (via CBS News).

ampule_test_payload_may_2017_bbland_1The cloud-former in question.

It’s probably going to look like a ultra cool, real-life, Instagram-ready lens flare, if NASA’s artistic depiction above is any indication, but there’s more to this than aesthetics. A few minutes after launch, ten canisters of blue-green and red vapor, about the size of soda cans, will be released, and the primary reason is to allow NASA to visually track particle motions in space. The intent is to give them a greater understanding of the ionosphere and auroras, and regardless of how much progress this experiment incubates, we’re gonna get to see some neat stuff in the sky.

Even if you’re not in an area that’s going to be able to see what’s going on, you can still check out the artificial clouds live via the Wallops’ livestream and get updates on the site’s Twitter.

This is going to be wonderful, but let us know in the comments whether you think this is going to measure up to some of the amazing naturally occurring phenomena our planet already offers.

Images: NASA; Berit Bland

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