NASA Satellite Quartet Aims to Crack Magnetic Mystery Near Earth
The Magnetsopheric Multiscale mission, or MMS, consists of four satellites that will study a process called magnetic reconnection: the explosive phenomenon that can send powerful bursts of particles hurtling toward Earth, potentially damaging satellites. But magnetic reconnection is also responsible for the auroras — the northern and southern lights — near Earth's poles. A new NASA video explains the MMS mission in detail.
MMS is the only dedicated instrument studying magnetic re connection, and scientists say it could finally reveal how this phenomenon occurs. The mission requires an elaborately choreographed arrangement of four separate satellites in an orbit around Earth, placing them in the path of the magnetic reconnection events taking place right on Earth's doorstep. [NASA'S Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission in Pictures]