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.
Predicting hazardous events in the belts
NASA says particles from the radiation belts can penetrate into spacecraft and disrupt electronics, short circuits or upset memory on computers. The particles are also dangerous to astronauts traveling through the region. NASA said it needs models to help predict hazardous events in the belts, and that RBSP will help solve that problem. The most intense area of radiation within the outer belt is between about 9,000-12,000 miles above Earth's surface.