NASA Scientist Admits: Chemtrails Are Real
In the summer of 2013, proponents of the chemtrail conspiracy theory were handed an unprecedented piece of evidence for their claims. A NASA scientist admitted, in a recorded phone call, that the U.S. space agency was deliberately releasing a trail of chemicals into the atmosphere. He even used the term "chem trail" to refer to the trail of lithium that had been released by a sounding rocket into the atmosphere over the Mid-Atlantic region.
Chemtrail theorists were delighted - finally they had proof that the U.S. government was conducting secret chemical experiments in the atmosphere.
In fact, the lithium-releasing sounding rocket was part of the Daytime Dynamo project, studying the movement of charged particles in the ionosphere. This "secret experiment" had been promoted in NASA press releases for several months prior to the July 4 launch and was widely discussed in science-based media prior to the launch. But facts such as these are largely irrelevant to promoters of the chemtrail conspiracy theory.
What Are Contrails?
Contrails are produced when airplanes at high altitude create mixing clouds of ice crystals in the upper troposphere. Atmospheric conditions such as temperature, pressure, and humidity determine whether these contrails are short lived or persistent. Learn more about contrails.
What Are Chemtrails?
Believers in the chemtrail conspiracy theory insist that the persistent contrails sometimes created by airplanes flying at cruising altitude are actually "chemtrails" - trails of dangerous chemicals deliberately sprayed by the government and/or UN and/or military and/or illuminati into the upper troposphere for nefarious purposes ranging from geoengineering to depopulation to mind control.
There is, of course, not a shred of evidence for this conspiracy theory. Persistent contrails are easily explained by basic physics and have been a feature of our skies since the dawn of the aviation age. All contrails are simply mixing clouds, similar to the puffy breath clouds we produce when exhaling on a cold day. In the -40 degree conditions near the stratosphere, the airplane's "breath cloud" of water vapor mixes with the water vapor in the atmosphere and freezes rapidly into clouds of ice crystals.
When the air at cruising altitude is cold and dry, contrails dissipate quickly. Under the right conditions of temperature, pressure, and relative humidity, the contrail can linger for hours, or even spread and combine with other contrails to cover the sky. There is no evidence that any of these lingering condensation trails contain geoengineering aerosols or mind-control drugs, but chemtrailers are not dissuaded by this lack of evidence, and the theory persists.
All of this has exactly nothing to do with NASA's Daytime Dynamo sounding rocket experiment.
The Daytime Dynamo Experiment
The sounding rockets that launched from Wallops Island, Virginia on July 4, 2013 were part of the Daytime Dynamo project, a joint research project conducted by NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to study the electrical currents of the ionosphere.
The ionosphere is a region of the atmosphere stretching from about 30 miles (50km) to 620 miles (1000 km) above the Earth's surface. In this part of the atmosphere, atoms in air molecules are ionized by solar radiation - electrons are stripped from their nuclei and allowed to roam free until they are recaptured by another atom.
Scientists have long sought to understand the dynamics of the ionosphere, as this layer of charged particles in the atmosphere has important impacts for communication and navigation systems. The free electrons in the ionosphere reflect shortwave radio - allowing radio signals to travel long distances. However, they can also bend radio waves at frequencies used for satellite communication, causing errors in GPS and other navigation systems. Disturbances in the ionosphere can disrupt communications and pose a danger to air, land, and sea traffic that relies on satellite navigation.
The dynamics of the ionosphere are only partially understood. Interactions between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetic field whip both the charged and neutral particles of the ionosphere into circular wind patterns on the Sun-facing side of the planet. These winds in turn create electric currents in the ionosphere. Around the Equator these winds travel in a clockwise cycle. At mid-latitudes, the winds travel counter-clockwise in a complex looping pattern. Together, these wind and current cycles are known as the daytime dynamo.
One method scientists use to study this dynamo uses lithium gas as a tracer. NASA has launched several successful nighttime sounding rocket missions, during which the lithium gas lit up brightly as it passed through the electrically-charged ionosphere and allowed scientists on the ground to track the different wind movements at different altitudes. While these lithium tracers are easily used to track the movements of the ionosphere on the night side of the planet, they are much more difficult to observe on the day side of the planet, where the ionosphere's daytime dynamo is active.
The NASA/JAXA Daytime Dynamo experiment was designed to overcome this limitation. It was composed of three components:
- A Black Brant V sounding rocket carrying sensors to collect data on charged and neutral particles as it passed through the ionosphere.
- A Terrier Improved Orion sounding rocket that launched 15 seconds later, carrying a canister of lithium gas to be deployed as a tracer.
- A King Air turboprop airplane equipped with cameras employing special filters that could record the lithium trail during the daytime.
The rockets launched at 10:31 am Eastern time on July 4, 2013. According to mission managers, the Daytime Dynamo mission was a resounding success.
The "Incriminating" Video
NASA's Chemtrail Admission
Despite the fact that NASA has been conducting sounding rocket experiments with lithium tracers in the ionosphere for many years now, this particular mission caught the attention of some believers in the chemtrail conspiracy theory. One conspiracy theorist was so enraged that she contacted heliophysicist Douglas Rowland at the Goddard Space Flight Center to complain.
During the conversation, which was recorded (perhaps illegally) and posted to YouTube, Rowland patiently explained the purpose of the Daytime Dynamo mission, and that the small amount of lithium released into the upper reaches of the atmosphere posed no threat to life on the ground.
Unfortunately, Rowland also used the term "chem trail" to refer to the trail of lithium gas released by the Terrier Improved Orion rocket during the experiment. The abbreviation is certainly not incorrect - a tracer of any kind is indeed a trail of chemicals. Rowland was probably unaware of the pseudoscientific context of the term, and had no idea that his words would be twisted by the chemtrail believers to further the chemtrail hoax.
Of course, the idea that NASA "admitted the existence of chemtrails" in this conversation is simply ludicrous. Anyone with even a modest sense of logic should be able to see that a sounding rocket deploying a tracer into the ionosphere has nothing whatsoever to do with the chemtrail conspiracy theory.
But Isn't Lithium a Mind-Control Drug?
One of the frequent claims made by chemtrail conspiracy theorists about the NASA/JAXA Daytime Dynamo experiment was that it was a secret "mind control" operation to pacify the residents of the Mid-Atlantic. After all, lithium ions are used in medicine to treat bipolar disorder.
The third element on the periodic table, lithium is the lightest solid element. It is commonly found in many minerals that make up granite, and is found in seawater in concentrations up to .25 parts per million. Lithium is found in trace amounts in plant and animal tissue, particularly in sea life. A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggested that lithium was an essential element for mammalian development and biological functioning, and recommended a daily allowance of 1mg of lithium per day.
With one electron in its outer shell, lithium is also highly reactive. Lithium is used in a number of industrial and commercial applications - from ceramic glazes to batteries to engine greases to rocket propellants. Combined with chlorine, lithium chloride is soluble in water and is used as a tracer liquid to test the flow of water in water-treatment systems.
Since lithium burns with a bright red color, it is also used in road flares and as the "rockets' red glare" of many fireworks. Those concerned with NASA's dispersal of a minute amount of lithium tracer into the upper atmosphere on July 4th likely received a far higher dose of lithium from the fireworks displays held that night.
As usual, the outlandish claims made by promoters of the chemtrail conspiracy theory are completely unsupported by facts. NASA's use of sounding rockets to create chemical tracers in no way prove that the "chemtrail conspiracy" is anything but a ridiculous hoax.
Sources and Further Information
- Sounding rocket to observe currents in atmosphere
Scientists are gearing up to launch a sounding rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. for a five-minute trip to study a global, electrical current called the dynamo sweeping through the ionosphere.
- NASA's Independence Day Fireworks from Wallops Investigates Earth’s Global Daytime Dynamo Current
WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – Today, July 4, NASA celebrated America’s Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks display of a dynamic duo of sounding rockets...
- Daytime Dynamo Set for June 28
Press Release: Jul 28, 2013 - Two rockets will launch 15-seconds apart in support of the Daytime Dynamo experiment.
- NASA’s Daytime Dynamo Experiment Deploys Lithium to Study Global Ionospheric Communications Disrupti
NASA WALLOPS, VA – Science and space aficionados are in for rare treat on June 24 when NASA launches a two-rocket salvo from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Va.
- Science Reference: Ionosphere
The ionosphere is the part of the atmosphere that is ionized by solar radiation.
- Space Weather Now
NOAA / Space Weather Prediction Center
- Lithium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lithium (from Greek lithos 'stone') is a chemical element with symbol Li and atomic number 3.