NASA balloon mission to improve weather forecasting: US Space agency

NASA Just Captured Data on an Incredibly Rare Type of Cloud in Earth's Atmosphere

NASA Just Captured Data on an Incredibly Rare Type of Cloud in Earth's Atmosphere

The pictures of a thin group of occasional electric blue clouds on the cusp of our environment caught by another NASA expand mission may prompt enhanced climate estimating, the United States space office has said. In a new post on its website, NASA reveals the results of a mission that was conducted in early July of this year which saw a large balloon soar 50 miles into the sky to study clouds.

"From what we've seen so far, we expect to have a really spectacular dataset from this mission", Dave Fritts, principal investigator of the PMC Turbo mission - that's the one with the big balloon - said in a statement. The outcomes make splendid blue rippling clouds that are noticeable soon after the Sun sets in polar regions amid the summer.

"Our cameras were likely able to capture some really interesting events and we hope will provide new insights into these complex dynamics".

Over the course of a five-day mission, a NASA research balloon captured pictures of these clouds in the mesosphere - near to the very edge of space. He crossed the Arctic located in Western Nunavut, Canada.

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While the images themselves are handsome, the science mission was interested in more than what they look like and was after the events that led to their creation in the first place, notes the report. They are called noctilucent clouds or polar mesospheric clouds and are formed from ice crystals and tiny pieces of meteorites. Forces like uplifting air masses-air pushed upward because of masses on the surface like mountains and transfer energy-energy in the atmosphere that moves to the mesosphere from the lower altitudes and these forces come together to form what is known as gravity waves.

'At these altitudes, you can literally see the gravity waves breaking - like ocean waves on the beach - and cascading to turbulence'. "From the lidar measurements, we can infer the vertical structure of the waves, thus providing important data which would have not been available from the imaging experiment alone".

Scientists hope the data collected by the balloon's sensors will help scientists better understand the mechanics of atmospheric turbulence.

The first noctilucent clouds were observed in 1885 in the wake of Krakatoa volcano eruption in Indonesia. AIM tracks extensive scale includes in the clouds over a worldwide scale, however, can just objective includes several miles over. PMC Turbo helps fill in the details, explaining what happens at smaller scales where turbulence occurs.

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