NASA's hot radiation mission
NASA is set to launch its Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) to explore the most intense areas of radiation around Earth
By Michael Cooney | Network World US | Published: 17:15, 03 September 12
On 24 August, NASA blasted twin satellites successfully into the radiation belts that surround Earth. The Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) will let researchers finally begin to unlock the mysteries of the Van Allen radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped rings around the Earth made up of very high-energy electrons and protons that can damage satellites and endanger humans during spaceflight, NASA says. Here's what the mission looks like.
8,400 to 36,000 miles from Earth
Two giant doughnuts of plasma surround Earth, trapped within a region known as the Van Allen radiation belts. The belts lie close to Earth; satellites in geostationary orbit are above and satellites in low Earth orbit are generally below the belts. The outer radiation belt is typically about 8,400 to 36,000 miles above Earth's surface (watch the NASA video here).