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.
Danger is when the inner radiation belt expands
NASA facts about radiation: Two radiation belts filled with electrons and charged particles surround Earth. The inner one is fairly stable, but the outer one swells and shrinks over time. When the inner belt swells, this region of dangerous radiation expands to include the orbits of the International Space Station and many other satellites.