The fictional concept that the government controls the weather has been a staple of tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists for decades, but a NASA experiment taking place tonight will turn that far-flung theory into reality, if only for a moment. The agency is set to launch a rocket off the East Coast of the United States later tonight, June 12th, which will spawn colorful artificial clouds in the atmosphere, and they’ll be visible from New York all the way down to North Carolina.
The vehicle, called a sounding rocket, will take off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, cruising high into the sky for around five minutes before deploying ten soda-can-sized canisters which will form “tracers.” The clouds, which form thanks to the interaction between the chemicals barium, cupric-oxide, and strontium, will be extremely eye-catching, ranging from bluish green to red in color.
The project, which was originally scheduled to take place early this morning but was postponed until 9:04 to 9:19 PM EDT tonight, aims to allow researchers to record and study particle motion on a much larger scale than they are typically able.
If you’re on the East Coast, or even as far west at Charlottesville, Virginia, NASA says you should have a pretty good chance at spotting the bright wispy clouds as the sun sets. However, for those of us who are nowhere near the actual deployment, NASA will be providing a live stream of the event on their NASA TV portal on UStream.