(Phys.org)—On August 31, 2012 , NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission proved it was ready for its next steps by passing what's called a Systems Integration Review (SIR), which deems a mission ready to integrate instruments onto the spacecraft.
The MMS mission is due to launch in late 2014. It will observe a mysterious process called magnetic reconnection, which creates explosive bursts of energy and which powers a variety of space phenomena from the aurora to giant eruptions of radiation on the sun known as solar flares. The images here show the spacecraft under construction, a process made all the more complex since MMS requires the building of four identical spacecraft.
For more information about NASA's MMS mission, go to: mms.gsfc.nasa.gov/
Explore further: NASA approves space mission to unlock the secrets of magnetic reconnection