'Spacefireworks' were successfully released by researchers at the Japan AerospaceExploration Agency (JAXA) on Sunday. The three one-and-a-half minute burstswere visible from most of western Japan including Tokyo.
The fireworks-like display was created by a timed release oflithium vapor from a rocket launched from the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center in southern Kyushu. The first release occurred at 7:26 pm at a height of 250kilometers. The second was made at 200 kilometers and the final release at 150kilometers. The rocket fell into the Pacific about 500 kilometers south of Wakayama prefecture. (See a diagram of the spacefireworks rocket trajectory.)
The resulting display was seen at a number of researchlocations, including the Tokushima-Kainan Observatory, located at Dairi-Matsubarabeach in the town of Kaiyo, Tokushima prefecture (see spacefireworks photo).
The intent of the program is to study the atmospheric flowin the ionosphere (from 100 to 300 kilometers). This is a difficult area forstudy, because it falls below the threshold for direct satellite sampling andabove that of balloons.
This isn't really a case of fireworks in space, of course.The only person I know who seriously thought about using actual fireworks inspace was Jules Verne, in his 1867 novel From the Earth to the Moon.
"Thus,powerful fireworks, taking their starting-point from the base and burstingoutside, could, by producing a recoil, check to a certain degree theprojectile's speed...
Barbicanehad accordingly supplied himself with these fireworks, enclosed in little steelguns, which could be screwed on to the base of the projectile. Inside, theseguns were flush with the bottom; outside, they protruded about eighteen inches.There were twenty of them. An opening left in the disc allowed them to lightthe match with which each was provided." (Read more about Jules Verne's space fireworks)
In making this suggestion, Verne was the inventor of whatNASA would call retro-rockets.
Via Pink Tentacle.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used withpermission of Technovelgy.com- where science meets fiction