NASA Spacecraft Discovers New Magnetic Process in Turbulent Space





Though close to home, the space immediately around Earth is full of hidden secrets and invisible processes. In a new discovery reported in the journal Nature, scientists working with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft — MMS — have uncovered a new type of magnetic event in our near-Earth environment by using an innovative technique to squeeze extra information out of the data.

Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important processes in the space — filled with charged particles known as plasma — around Earth. This fundamental process dissipates magnetic energy and propels charged particles, both of which contribute to a dynamic space weather system that scientists want to better understand, and even someday predict, as we do terrestrial weather. Reconnection occurs when crossed magnetic field lines snap, explosively flinging away nearby particles at high speeds. The new discovery found reconnection where it has never been seen before — in turbulent plasma.

Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/nasa-spacecraft-discovers-new-magnetic-process-in-turbulent-space

Link to Nature paper: http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0091-5

Music credits: ‘Think Tank’ and ‘Natural Time Cycles’ by Laurent Dury from Killer Tracks

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Tai Phan (University of California, Berkeley): Lead Scientist
James Drake (University of Maryland): Scientist
Michael Shay (University of Delaware): Scientist
Jonathan Eastwood (Imperial College London): Scientist
Joy Ng (USRA): Producer
Mara Johnson-Groh (Wyle Information Systems): Writer
Tom Bridgman (GST): Data Visualizer
Lisa Poje (Freelance): Lead Animator
Josh Masters (USRA): Lead Animator
Walt Feimer (KBRwyle): Animator
Brian Monroe (USRA): Animator
Joy Ng (USRA): Animator
Mary P. Hrybyk-Keith (TRAX International Corporation): Graphic Designer
Colby Haggerty (University of Chicago): Visualizer
Ashley Michini (University of Pennsylvania): Visualizer
Tulasi Parashar (University of Delaware): Visualizer
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET Systems Inc.): Technical Support

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