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February 7 2014

Here's Why Scientists Are Shooting Rockets at an Aurora


Just before midnight, an aurora rips an iridescent gash along the northern horizon. Sixty miles below, down on Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, Marilia Samara is fiddling with a two-stage rocket, and trying to stay warm.

Samara's team at the Southwest Research Institute has passed several fruitless evenings in the bitter cold, waiting to launch a million-dollar sounding rocket into the Northern Lights.

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