Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.


Thomas Edison

NASA Prepares To Launch Rocket Into The Heart Of The Northern Lights

Posted in Science on 9th Feb, 2013 11:04 PM by AlexMuller

NASA scientists in Poker Flats, Alaska, have been waiting since Saturday for the right weather conditions to launch a sounding rocket into the green aurora-lit skies, where it will fly to an altitude of 500 miles and capture data and imagery from within and above the northern lights.

The team's primary mission is to learn about how the heat from the aurora slingshots oxygen atoms away from Earth's upper atmosphere and into space.
The aurora itself is a result of electrons flowing in the opposite direction, from the outermost atmosphere toward Earth's surface. Ions are always traveling along the planet's magnetic field lines, but sometimes, traffic along the lines suddenly spikes, and inbound electrons come streaming toward Earth and collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen in the upper atmosphere, and those atoms get momentarily excited and release photons of red or green light to calm back down.

During its fifteen-minute flight, NASA's VISIONS (short for "VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm")rocket will travel through all this auroral action and then fly above it, to an altitude of about 500 miles, where the auroral wind is generated. The scientists hope to discover how the aurora supplies enough energy to kick up the auroral wind, and to get a sense of how big the stream of outbound oxygen atoms is.

Since sounding rockets have no guidance system, the VISIONS team has to wait for the right weather--coinciding, of course, with an auroral event--to launch. Hopefully, those conditions will arrive before the launch window closes on February 17. The team is sending mission updates and photos throughout the wait:

Read original article » Back to category



Recent headlines

  • Posted in Science on 2019-01-05 00:26:50
    China Lands Chang'e 4 on the Far Side of the more
    Posted in Science on 2018-12-31 00:24:45
    Support for Human Gene Editing to Fix Diseases in more
    Posted in Science on 2018-12-31 00:15:06
    Will Mimicking The Nervous System Advance more
    Posted in Science on 2018-12-26 15:04:48
    NASA Gives Us Sugar in Space to Confirm Building more
    Posted in Business on 2018-12-21 22:48:10
    US Air Force Funds SpaceX Starlink For $28.7 more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Even light drinking increases risk of more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Researchers have discovered how to slow more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Human retinas grown in a dish explain how color vision more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    The smartphone app that can tell you’re depressed before more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Neural networks don’t understand what optical illusions more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me