Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor or ASIM was installed on the Space Station in 2018. The collection of optical cameras, photometers and an X- and gamma-ray detector is designed to look for electrical discharges originating from stormy weather that extends above thunderstorms into the upper atmosphere.
The experiment has been very successful in describing elements that are associated with thunderstorms, such as ‘blue jets’, ‘elves’ and ‘sprites’ that we cannot observe and research from the Earth’s surface. It also captured the presence of short bursts of gamma rays, that are actually formed within electrical lightning flashes.
Dissecting the anatomy of a thunderstorm is extremely interesting for those studying fundamental physics, but it can also provide valuable insights to scientists studying climate change