Twin space probe design phase begins

Apr 21, 2008

The U.S. space agency said design has started on its radiation storm probes -- twin spacecraft that will be launched into the Earth's radiation belts.

Researchers said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration spacecraft are being designed to provide insight into the physical dynamics of near-Earth space, where violent space weather can affect astronauts, satellites and even ground-based technologies.

Researchers and engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., will build and operate the twin probes, which are scheduled for a 2011 launch and a primary mission of two years.

The radiation belts are two doughnut-shaped regions encircling Earth, where high-energy particles are trapped by the planet's magnetic field, scientists said. Most Earth-orbiting spacecraft pass through the belts, which can affect both astronauts and spacecraft.

Scientists hope the space mission will resolve decades-old scientific mysteries of how such particles become energized to such high levels and how the radiation belts vary so dramatically with changing conditions on the sun.

The instruments will be provided by teams managed by Boston University, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the National Reconnaissance Office.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Building better soybeans for a hot, dry, hungry world

6 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new study shows that soybean plants can be redesigned to increase crop yields while requiring less water and helping to offset greenhouse gas warming. The study is the first to demonstrate ...

High power laser sources at exotic wavelengths

Apr 14, 2014

High power laser sources at exotic wavelengths may be a step closer as researchers in China report a fibre optic parametric oscillator with record breaking efficiency. The research team believe this could ...

Astronomers challenge Cosmological Model

Apr 03, 2014

(Phys.org) —Astronomers Professor Chris Collins and Dr Ian McCarthy from LJMU's Astrophysics Research Institute are challenging the view that the currently preferred cosmological model of the Universe is ...

Recommended for you

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

11 hours ago

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

Apr 18, 2014

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.