Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

People say we're running out of energy. That's only true if we stick with these old 19th century technologies. We are awash in energy from sunlight.

 

Ray Kurzweil

 

The Pair of Space Probes That Will Demystify the Radiation Surrounding Earth

RATE THIS! +4
Posted in Science on 2nd Sep, 2012 05:56 PM by AlexMuller

Concentric rings of highly charged radiation encircle our planet, and we know surprisingly little about them. But once NASA completes a £430 million mission to launch a twin pair of space probes into the eye of this solar storm, the Van Allen belts should be much less of a mystery.

 

The Van Allen belts were discovered in 1958 by University of Iowa professor James A. Van Allen. The belts are two layers of the same doughnut of charged plasma—the inner belt stretches from the edge of the atmosphere to a radius of 4,000 miles, and the outer belt stretches from 8,000 miles to roughly 24,000. Thy’re held in place by our planet’s magnetic field. Nearly all of humanity’s communications satellites orbit at the outer edge of the 4,000-mile gap that separates the two belts.

 

These belts shrink and swell in accordance to the larger solar weather patterns in our galactic neighborhood. Increased solar activity can bend these bands closer to the Earth and into the orbital range of our communication satellites. Much like solar flares, these bands of intensely-charged particles can wreak havoc with modern electronics, GPS, power grids, and satellites. The belts tend to knock satellites offline, but NASA has developed a specialised pair of satellites to send in there to figure out why.

 

The Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) have been developed by NASA as part of its Living With a Star program. Their sole purpose is to collect data about the inner workings of this volatile radiation shroud, and learn how its constituent electrons and ions react to solar winds. The RBSPs themselves are a duo of spin-stabilised spacecraft fortified against a constant assault from high-energy particles and designed to continue collecting data in conditions that would render conventional satellites floating scrap metal.

 

After launching from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket (after four delays, hopefully on August 30th, 2012), the probes will spend two years in the belts, collecting an unprecedented data set on the composition and activity of the region. Each probe will fly a nearly identical 9-hour orbit but the spacecrafts’ speeds will differ slightly so that every 75 days or so, the two will cross paths. This will allow scientists to record the structure of the belt and measure any fluctuation since the previous flyby.

 



Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Business on 2017-09-21 08:16:42
    Google signs $1.1bn HTC smartphone deal..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-09-21 08:11:40
    US solar plant costs fall another 30 per cent in just one.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-09-21 08:04:25
    SpaceX will call global internet satellite network Starlink..read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-09-20 19:05:15
    Google boosts Cloud Natural Language API with automatic.....read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-09-20 18:55:34
    Salesforce to launch $50 million artificial intelligence.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New terahertz imaging approach could speed up skin cancer.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Rebutting the claim that antidepressants do not work..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me