The clouds created by the NASA sounding rockets launched from the Norwegian Space Center look cool, but they actually provide NASA scientists with valuable data to help scientists better understand the mechanics of the Earth's atmosphere. According to NASA, the AZURE mission is designed to measure atmospheric density and temperature using instruments on the rocket and to deploy a visible gas tracer. This trimethylaluminum (TMA) and ruthenium/iridium mixture will ionize when exposed to sunlight. .
The towering clouds caused by AZURE extend 70 to 150 miles into the sky, and researchers can see how the particles moving upstream of the atmosphere move. NASA plans to conduct several sounding rocket tests in the next two years, providing scientists with ample opportunity to study the mechanics of our planet's atmosphere.