Connect to share and comment

NASA to launch 5 rockets to study jet stream

NASA will launch five rockets from coastal Virginia as part of an experiment to learn more about the jet stream at the edge of space.

rocket launch at nightEnlarge
NASA to launch rockets to study the jet stream at the edge of space. (Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

A NASA rocket launch to study the jet steam's current near space that was scheduled Thursday at 12 a.m. was postponed due to a radio glitch.

According to Space.com, the malfunction was detected as scientists prepared to launch five rockets about five minutes a part from coastal Virginia.

The launch is looking to track high altitude winds that blow in the jet stream, a current that crosses the continental United States and moves diagonally towards the north Atlantic.

Scientists recently discovered that although jet stream winds blow at about 60 miles per hour, the current at 6 miles above the earth near space blows over 200 miles per hour.

Read more on GlobalPostGermany battles over the future of solar energy

The high speed winds remain an anomaly that the experiment hopes to understand.

The project, called the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment, or ATREX, will use the rockets to release chemical tracers at a high altitude to track the powerful winds, which, according to MSNBC, will leave milky white clouds visible along the East coast of the United States.

Theory suggests that the high-altitude jet stream should travel at just 50 miles per hour," ATREX principal investigator Miguel Larsen, of Clemson University told Fox News. "The reason for doing this mission is that we really don't understand why there are such large winds at those heights."

Space.com reported that the rockets used will be the suborbital Terrier-Improved Malemute, Terrier-Improved Orion, and Terrier-Oriole, which will fall harmlessly in to the Atlantic after use.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/120314/nasa-launch-5-rockets-study-jet-stream