NASA gives the green light for two space weather missions

Space exploration has many facets. It is not just a question of going to explore the surrounding planets. Understanding space weather, for example, could be critical.

When you think of space exploration, you immediately think of exploring other planets. This is only one side of the story, though. Understanding the mechanics in place in our Universe allows us to better understand this “big whole” and therefore, potentially, to be more efficient for space travel, long missions, etc. Space weather is a recent but very important discipline. The NASA takes a close interest in this.

NASA announces its participation in two missions dedicated to the study of space weather

NASA has just announced that it will participate in two missions dedicated to heliophysics that could provide us with data that will allow us to better understand winds and other solar explosions, and even space weather as a whole. The US space agency has officially announced its participation in the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission (EUVST) and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE) program. Two missions among the three proposals made to NASA around space weather and which were selected in September 2019. They had then received a budget of $ 400,000 to push their work for nine months.

The goal is to better understand solar phenomena

The UVST is a solar telescope project that will aim to study precisely how the sun’s atmosphere releases its solar winds and spits out solar materials that directly affect radiation levels. The project, which is currently slated for launch in 2026, is led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) but NASA will participate to the tune of $ 55 million. His contributions will include hardware such as UV detectors, supporting electronics, components for spectrography as well as a guide telescope.

For its part, the EZIE will use three small satellites to study electrojets near the north and south polar circles. These are electric currents moving around the E layer of the ionosphere. Scientists want to better understand electrojets since the same phenomenon that causes auroras can also interfere with communication signals (radio and otherwise) and even damage devices in orbit.

Space agencies set up this kind of missions to be able to recover as much data as possible and better understand the physics behind various solar phenomena. NASA also selected five other space weather missions last August and subsidized them to the tune of $ 1.25 million each to further develop their concept . The ultimate goal is to be able to predict events such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections and thus protect the astronauts, devices and other technologies present in Space .

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