Artificial clouds illuminate a jet stream at the edge of space.
At the outer limit of Earth's atmosphere, located more than 60 miles above the surface, mysterious winds rushing at speeds up to 300 miles per hour surround the planet. Little is known about this high altitude jet stream beyond the fact that its complex motion can spread space weather disturbances around the globe, which, in turn, can cause damage to satellites and disruption to communication systems. To observe the jet stream's wind patterns, NASA launched five 35-foot long sounding rockets packed with a chemical tracer over the Atlantic Ocean on March 27, 2012. Cameras on the ground tracked the movement of the glowing, milky-white clouds that developed in the early morning sky as the tracer deployed from the rockets and interacted with the jet stream. Watch the videos below to learn more about this experiment and see the rockets blast off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.