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Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Van Allen Probes Get to Work in Orbit


A litany of instruments on the recently renamed Van Allen Probes (formerly Radiation Belt Storm Probe) will study charged particles in the Earth's radiation belt to find their origin, how their energized and lost to Space. James Van Allen is credited with the 1958 discovery of the radiation belts using Explorer 1, the first successful U.S. satellite.

The Van Allen Probes are investigating what causes Earth's donut-shaped radiation belts to swell and contract as solar storms erupt and propagate through space. Magnetic storms in the radiation belts can pose threats to communications and navigation satellites, along with astronauts in orbit. More from SpaceflightNow, and NASA.

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