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NASA Rocket Mission Will Predict Earth's Electrical Storms

A NASA-funded sounding rocket mission will launch from an atoll in the Pacific. The mission will help scientists better understand and predict the electrical storms in Earth's upper atmosphere. Storms interfere with satellite communication and global positioning signals.
The mission, called EVEX, for the Equatorial Vortex Experiment, will launch two rockets for a twelve-minute journey through the equatorial ionosphere above the South Pacific. The launch window for the mission from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands is from April 27 to May 10, 2013.

“Neutral winds are one of the hardest things to study,” says Doug Rowland, an EVEX team member at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “One can’t physically see the wind, and it is difficult to measure from the ground, so we use the TMA as a tracer.”

Scientists would like to find a simple advance warning in the atmosphere that can be detected from the ground.

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