East Coast Jumps for Joy Over Scheduled Light Show

By Jamie Epstein January 29, 2013

Today January 29, if the weather allows of course, NASA will be sending a rocket sky high that will yield a brilliant light show here on the East Coast. If you are lucky enough to live within this region, be sure to look up into the night’s sky at around 5:30 p.m. EDT. 

According to reports, the light show, which promises to be more spectacular than even the brightest decorated house during the holidays, is part of a test scientists will be conducting that will “unleash a chemical tracer that should create two bright, red-colored lithium vapor trails in space that may be seen by observers across the mid-Atlantic region, and possibly from even further away.”

Basically how the experiment works is two cloud trails will appear that are made up of solid metal lithium rods or chips embedded in a thermite cake. The thermite is then lit on fire, which then releases heat to ignite the lithium. The rocket will send out not one but two streams of lithium, which can be seen when released at high altitudes located in close proximity to the sun.

Too lazy to get off the couch? Don’t you worry, because you can still stay in the warmth of your home with your potato chip bag in hand by electing to watch the launch on SPACE.com thanks to the power of the Internet. The video goes live at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Image via Shutterstock

Libby West, mission project manager with the NASA Sounding Rocket Program, said in a statement, 'We will ... determine which configuration is best for observing various science phenomena in space.'

She added, “This launch is a technology test flight for two upcoming missions. We will be testing two different methods for creating the lithium vapor to determine which configuration is best for observing various science phenomena in space."

Yet, the weather doesn’t always cooperate when cool things like this are planned, and if it should rain or become too foggy, the launch will be rescheduled for some time between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.

If you happen to be stuck at something called “work” during this time frame, never fear my dear, because NASA will be powering two more similar tests in 2013, with the first slated to take place in April and the second in June.

The space organization has been extremely busy as of late, also revealing today that its communications network that analyzes satellites and spacecraft encircling Earth is about to be completely revamped. In fact, the TDRS-K satellite is being touted as only one of three new satellites that will be powered into space between now and 2015, costing in the range of a mere $350 to $400 million.

“Any day we support over 100 missions," Badri Younes, a scientist in the Space Communications and Navigation office in NASA added. "Anything you see going to space has to be enabled by us."




Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Web Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

PayPal Acquires Bill Management Company

By: Andrew Bindelglass    2/17/2017

Paypal has acquired TIO Networks, an online bill payment company, in a $233 million deal.

Read More

Yahoo! Mail App Helps Fight Hackers

By: Alicia Young    2/16/2017

Yahoo! sent out several emails yesterday to users it believes were hacked through the use of forged cookies. Here's how the Yahoo! Mail app can help p…

Read More

Social Media is More Than Making Bird Noises

By: Erik Linask    2/16/2017

It takes more time and resources than simply posting product offers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but the value of two-way social interactions …

Read More

SoftBank Drops $3.3 Billion on Fortress Buy

By: Steve Anderson    2/15/2017

SoftBank steps up its options with new business investment, picking up the Fortress Investment Group in a deal valued at $3.3 billion.

Read More

4 Ways to Be the Brady and Belichick of Business

By: Special Guest    2/14/2017

In an NFL era defined by parity, their success over 17 years is worth examining for business leaders. After all, Brady is not the most physically gift…

Read More