Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere

Exploring clouds on the edge of space

The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere mission studies Earth’s highest cloud formations, called Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC) which form 82 km (50 miles) above the surface of the Earth, right at the edge of space. PMCs form in the summer polar hemispheres in the coldest portion of Earth’s atmosphere (-120ºF), the mesosphere. Changes observed in the characteristics of PMCs may be related to anthropogenic effects on the atmosphere. The AIM mission measures these clouds and their environment, including temperature and water vapor, to better understand how and why they form.

Mission Class:

Larger Missions

Mission Status:


LASP Roles:

Research, Instruments, Data, Mission Operations

Science Target:

Earth's Atmosphere

Mission Focus:

Climate, Earth's Atmosphere, Mesosphere

Primary Mission Site:

LASP Mission Site:


Launch Date: April 25, 2007
Prime Mission: 2 years
Extended Mission: 2024

Lead Institution: Hampton University

Lead Funding Agency: NASA Heliophysics Small Explorers Program

Partners: NASA, Hampton University, Virginia Tech, Northrop Grumman, GATS, Inc., Naval Research Laboratory, Utah State University Space Dynamics Lab, George Mason University, Norwegian University of Science and Technology