Satellite

NASA Van Allen probes confirm Earth as giant particle accelerator

NASA Van Allen probes confirm Earth as giant particle accelerator

The NASA Van Allen twin probes launched last year have revealed that the Earth is a giant particle accelerator. Recently it was reported that particles in the magnetosphere sometimes accelerate across distances of a few hundred meters. But the newer discovery shows the acceleration can occur across hundreds of thousands of kilometers. The data will be helpful to to scientists helping satellite operators and the International Space Station to predict and prepare for the destructive tendencies of the seemingly random fluctuations that can occur in the magnetosphere.

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NASA’s “MAVEN” Mars orbiter launched without a hitch

NASA’s “MAVEN” Mars orbiter launched without a hitch

NASA's Mars orbiter MAVEN launched successfully today from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:28PM EST. Once it arrives in orbit around the Red Planet, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN orbiter will gather data about Mars' upper atmosphere to try and discover how exactly the planet got to be so dry and atmosphere-poor. Earlier probes suggest the planet used to be much more like Earth in terms of moisture and atmosphere thickness.

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ESA Swarm satellites to chart Earth’s magnetic field

ESA Swarm satellites to chart Earth’s magnetic field

The European Space Agency will launch three satellites this week from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome to gather data about the Earth's magnetic field over the next few years. The planet's magnetic poles have been shifting more and more rapidly over the last couple of decades, possibly as part of their usual flip from north to south every few hundred thousand years. The so-called "Swarm" mission will tell us about that and myriad other factors affecting the magnetic field surrounding Earth.

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GOCE gravity-measuring satellite gives in to gravity

GOCE gravity-measuring satellite gives in to gravity

The GOCE satellite we reported to be falling to Earth has finally succumbed to gravity entirely, breaking up into dozens of remnants weighing 20-25% of its original one ton, reports the BBC. It didn't strike any populated areas as it showered down this Sunday afternoon. Interestingly, the extremely low-orbiting observation satellite was designed in 2009 to run out of orbit-maintaining fuel right about now and fall, just, you know, anywhere. No big deal.

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Remnants of GOCE satellite may hit Earth this weekend

Remnants of GOCE satellite may hit Earth this weekend

A satellite put into orbit around the Earth by the European Space Agency called the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer or GOCE has completed its mission. Rather than leaving the satellite aimlessly orbiting the planet forever, the ESA is having the satellite reenter the Earth's atmosphere. The satellite weighs about ton and experts believe that some parts of the satellite will impact the surface of the earth.

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