Tonight we are looking at Magnetic Portals connecting Sun and Earth.
NASA has a new Mission (MMS) to launch in 2014 to study these Magnetic Fields. I have collected some Videos on this subject to explain what all this is about! Come in and get comfortable. Take a break from your busy world to consider some new ideas! Enjoy!
Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the
microphysics of magnetic reconnection
The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission will use four identical spacecraft, variably spaced in Earth orbit, to make three-dimensional measurements of magnetospheric boundary regions and examine the process of magnetic reconnection. Credit: Southwest Research Institute
Phase C/D: Design & Development
Mission Highlights – As of June 27, 2012:
Integration and development activities continued this week highlights included:
- Space Network (SN) successfully compatibility testing was completed including end-to-end testing from Spacecraft #1 to TDRS (via CTV antenna) to White Sands to the MMS MOC.
- Observatory Structures #3 and #4 were stacked and mated with a flight clamp-band and the separation shock testing was successfully executed.
- C&DH #2 continued EMI/C testing and PSEES #3 is in vibration testing.
- Instrument Suite:
- Thermal-vacuum testing is ongoing for DES FM9 and FM10 and vibration testing is scheduled to begin Friday for DES FM7 and FM8.
- FPI IPDU FM1 was delivered and integrated onto Instrument Suite (IS) #1.
- HPCA successfully completed the Initial Calibration test of FM2.
Instrument Integration Begins at Goddard on MMS Spacecraft
The decks have arrived. Engineers working on NASA’S Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission have started integrating instruments on the first of four instrument decks in a newly fabricated cleanroom at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The MMS mission consists of four identical spacecraft, and each instrument deck will have 25 sensors per spacecraft.
"This is the first time NASA has ever built four satellites near simultaneously like this," says Craig Tooley, project manager for MMS at Goddard. "It feels like we're planning a giant game of musical chairs to produce multiple copies of a spacecraft. One instrument deck might be 2/3 finished, while another one is 1/3 finished, and the same people will have to test a nearly complete deck one day, and install large components on another one another day."
MMS will fly the four spacecraft in formation to investigate how the sun's and Earth's magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other -- a process that occurs throughout the universe, known as magnetic reconnection.
By going into space to observe magnetic reconnection where it is happening, MMS will both study a fundamental physical process that occurs throughout the universe as well as observe one of the ultimate drivers of our space weather, which affects modern technological systems such as communications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.
Goddard manages the MMS mission and is building the spacecraft in-house on-site in a specially designed cleanroom. Dr. James L. Burch at Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in San Antonio, Texas is the principal investigator for the MMS science investigation. SWRI oversees the entire MMS instrument suite for NASA, with various instruments being built at other institutions, including the Fast Plasma Instrument, which is being built at Goddard.
FROM THE DAILY GALAXY PUBLICATION
July 02, 2012
launch in 2014, to study the phenomenon. Bristling with energetic particle detectors and
magnetic sensors, the four spacecraft of MMS will spread out in Earth's magnetosphere and
surround the portals to observe how they work.
and close without warning "and there are no signposts to guide us in," notes Scudder.* Portals
form via the process of magnetic reconnection. Mingling lines of magnetic force from the sun and
Earth criss-cross and join to create the openings. "X-points" are where the criss-cross takes place.
The sudden joining of magnetic fields can propel jets of charged particles from the X-point,
creating an "electron diffusion region."
Earth more than 10 years ago.* "In the late 1990s, NASA's Polar spacecraft spent years in Earth's
magnetosphere," explains Scudder, "and it encountered many X-points during its mission."
looked to Polar. "Using Polar data, we have found five simple combinations of magnetic field and
energetic particle measurements that tell us when we've come across an X-point or an electron
diffusion region. A single spacecraft, properly instrumented, can make these measurements."
and alert other members of the constellation. Mission planners long thought that MMS might have
to spend a year or so learning to find portals before it could study them. Scudder's work short
cuts the process, allowing MMS to get to work without delay.* It's a shortcut worthy of the best
portals of fiction, only this time the portals are real. And with the new "signposts" we know how to
thePhysical Review Letters.
Magnetic Portals Connect Earth to the Sun
Creek. See You Next Time! Love Ya!