NASA launches magnetospheric scale spacecraft

On March 12, 2015, NASA launched four satellites to study a strange phenomenon in the Earth’s magnetic field called magnetic reconnection threw into space Mission satellites Magnetospheric scale (MMS) was the first space mission dedicated to investigate this phenomenon.

What is magnetic reconnection?

When Earth is bombarded with plasma from the Sun, our planet’s magnetic field lines can separate and reconnect. This phenomenon creates huge bursts of energy in the Earth’s magnetic environment and can direct charged particles into the atmosphere and produce beautiful auroras.

During magnetic reconnection, cosmic explosions occur and particles that are sent into the Earth’s atmosphere at the speed of light can be dangerous for astronauts.

Exactly how and why magnetic reconnection occurs has been a mystery. Scientists still don’t know why this cycle happens so fast.

Therefore, magnetic reconnection is one of the most important phenomena of the space atmosphere. Space atmospheric phenomena can affect modern technology systems, such as communication networks, locators, and power grids. To find out exactly what is happening in Earth’s magnetic atmosphere, NASA launched the Magnetic Multiscale Mission.

Magnetospheric scale satellite

Small Magnetospheric Scale Mission satellites, 02:44 AM GMT by Atlas-5 launcher They were launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Atlas-5 launcher Before sending the spacecraft into orbit

The mission’s four identical spacecraft will fly in a tetrahedral pyramid, which allows the spacecraft to observe these reconnection events in three dimensions. The four spacecraft will fly directly from near-Earth regions known as magnetic reconnection sites.

The magnetospheric scale is capable of studying smaller and faster processes than ever before with instruments 100 times faster than the equipment flown on previous spacecraft. A year after the mission’s launch, the first direct detection of magnetic reconnection was made.

During its mission in space, the spacecraft has discovered details about how magnetic reconnection works on small scales. It has also discovered magnetic reconnection in previously unexpected locations and broken the Guinness World Record for the highest GPS altitude. New insights into magnetic reconnection in nuclear and astrophysics also emerged after the magnetospheric-scale spacecraft.

The easiest place to study magnetic reconnection is in near-Earth space; Where this spacecraft orbits. By studying this phenomenon in Earth orbit, the spacecraft will help scientists understand reconnection elsewhere; Like the atmosphere of the sun and other stars or in the vicinity of black holes and neutron stars, the boundary between heliosphere solar system and interstellar space; Where it is harder to study.

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