This is an artist's rendition of the AIM spacecraft taking measurements of the mesosphere while flying through space.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA (Hampton University)

AIM Mission Overview

Do you know what the highest clouds in the atmosphere are called? Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC’s)! These are very special clouds that form about 50 miles above the Earth! They are called Polar because they normally form close to the poles of the Earth (not near the equator). They are called Mesospheric because the form in the mesosphere, the third layer of the Earth's atmosphere.

There is a new mission that will study these PMC's. It is a spacecraft called AIM (this stands for Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere). The (AIM) mission will be launched in 2006 and will study these clouds in detail for over two years.

Look for PMC's high in the sky just when the Sun is setting. If you see glowing, blue-white clouds, you might be seeing PMC's. AIM and its 3 instruments will be looking too!

Last modified June 18, 2004 by Jennifer Bergman.

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