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May 13, 2016

NASA satellites find trigger for magnetic explosions near Earth for first time

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, satellites

Explosive storms spawned by interactions between the magnetic fields of Earth and the sun can endanger satellites, spacecraft and astronauts in space, as well as power grids on Earth. Now, a fleet of NASA spacecraft has for the first time directly witnessed the mysterious way in which these magnetic explosions occur.

This work could help shed light on dangerous solar outbursts and help improve the design of advanced nuclear reactors, researchers said. The discovery was made using NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (or MMS for short), which launched four spacecraft into Earth’s magnetosphere, the bubble of plasma controlled by the planet’s magnetic field.

SEE ALSO: Satellite quartet: NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission in pictures.

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