Whitepaper #075 in the Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. Main topics: basic research. Additional topics: planetary ionospheres / upper atmospheres; ground-based missions/projects; space-based missions/projects; system science.
Weather above Earth’s mesopause is observed to be more dynamic than expected from theory. To understand this will require measurements that are sampled locally and derived with absolute accuracy — which is best achieved by tracking chemical tracer clouds deployed using a sounding rocket. We encourage NASA to take steps to ensure that expertise with this technique is preserved, or even expanded.