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A long-delayed NASA project finally took the skies this morning and conjured colorful clouds visible from parts of the East Coast.
The proverbial early Fourth of July fireworks came courtesy of the Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket which launched just before dawn on Thursday.
From around 100 miles above the Earth, the rocket discharged small canisters containing colorful chemicals that burst in the atmosphere to create an artificial aurora.
The dazzling display could be seen from parts of Virginia, where the rocket was launched, and may have been glimpsed by some residents in nearby states, although overcast skies in some areas prevented a full view of the ‘show.’
The purpose behind the mission is to get a better understanding of air currents in the Earth’s ionosphere as well as test technology which will be used to study auroras over Norway.
While the timing of the event was conveniently close to Independence Day, that wasn’t always the plan as the launch had actually been scrubbed an astounding ten times over the last few weeks until the space agency finally managed to pull it off today.