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Mesosphere Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Earth's atmosphere has five layers with the mesosphere being the third layer. Come learn about the mesosphere, why it's important, why it's hard to study, and some other cool facts about this important part of the atmosphere.

What is the Mesosphere?

You are sitting outside late at night under a blanket, waiting. Tonight, there will be a big meteor shower and you don't want to miss the light show. Suddenly, you see a streak across the sky, followed by another and another! It's like watching nature put on a fireworks display! But those flying rocks lighting up the sky aren't hitting the Earth after their fall because they are burning up in the mesosphere!

Layers of the atmosphere
Layers of the atmosphere

Earth's atmosphere has layers, like a cake. The mesosphere is the third and coldest layer of Earth's atmosphere, reaching about 130 degrees below zero.

The mesosphere is also where most meteors, or space rocks and metal, burn up before they can crash to the ground. It's like a superhero's force field that protects the Earth!

To get to the mesosphere, you'd have to travel 31 miles straight up from the ground you're standing on.

Layers of the atmosphere as seen from the space shuttle
Layers of the atmosphere as seen from the space shuttle

Mysterious Mesosphere

You might think scientists know everything about our atmosphere, but the mesosphere is a hard layer to explore. You can't send a weather balloon up to investigate because it can't fly that high. Even jets can't go that high!

Satellites and the International Space Station orbit the Earth in the layer above the mesosphere. Because they are too high up, they can't examine it and collect data.

One way scientists get information about this mysterious layer is by sending up sounding rockets. These are rockets that take quick flights and then return to Earth, kind of like a toy rocket you might launch that comes right back down.

Sounding rockets usually stay up for about 5 to 20 minutes, go up into the mesosphere and gather information so we can learn more about it.

Mesosphere Facts

Although we don't know everything, we do know some cool facts about this layer of atmosphere that protects the Earth.

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