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.
History of the radiation belts
NASA facts about radiation: The inner radiation belt was discovered with data from the very first American satellite, Explorer 1. Explorer 1 launched into Earth's orbit on a Jupiter C missile from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Jan. 31, 1958. The outer radiation belt was discovered a few months after the inner belt using data from Explorer IV and Pioneer 3, both launched in 1958. When the radiation belts were first discovered, the radiation was so intense that at first scientists thought they might be recording a Soviet nuclear test, NASA said.