Mission to Bring Data About the South Atlantic Anomaly

Hello reader!

It follows a note published on the day (08/23) in the website of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) informing that mission from NASA will bring data about the South Atlantic Anomaly.

Duda Falcão

Mission to Bring Data About the
South Atlantic Anomaly

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The data obtained by probes to be launched on Friday (8/24) by NASA might enhance studies on the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly (SAMA), an ionosphere’s phenomena above the Southeastern Brazil that can cause damage to satellites.

The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais -INPE) has a partnership with the U.S. space agency in studies of space weather and, from November, will be responsible for data acquisition in the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission, composed of the two probes that will monitor the Van Allen Belt, named due to the scientist who discovered in the 50s this magnetic field around the planet.

For the study of electromagnetic waves and radiation belt, which spans from 2200 to 5000 km and from 13000 and 55000 km of Earth's surface, the two probes of the RBSP mission will be placed in equatorial orbit between 500 kilometers to nearly 40000 kilometers high. After the calibration of sensors, data will be regularly sent to ground stations, including the INPE’s one, based in Alcântara (MA).

For at least two years, scientists worldwide will have access to this information, which will allow, for the first time, a more complete monitoring of SAMA and the electrical particles precipitation that hit this region.

"These probes have very advanced sensors and instruments. The mission will allow the acquisition of more accurate information for monitoring the effect of electric particles of Van Allen Belt in the region of the anomaly. To get an idea of the consequences of the phenomenon, the satellite passing over this region need to have some equipment turned off to avoid problems in its operation," explains Walter D. González, a researcher for the Department of Space Geophysics at INPE.

In September, INPE will welcome the RBSP mission leader, David Sibeck, to discuss outcomes of studies on space weather and the impacts of SAMA and its relation to geomagnetic storms, caused by the emission of very energetic particles and intense magnetic fields emitted by the Sun, passing through the interplanetary medium and interacting with the Earth's geomagnetic field.

Information on the Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission at www.nasa.gov/rbsp

Space Weather

INPE has the Program of Brazilian Space Weather Study and Monitoring (EMBRACE), which assess the solar phenomena that affect the environment between Sun and Earth, and the space around Earth.

Solar phenomena are capable of causing interference in systems such as GPS, plus the ability to induce electric currents in transformers, power transmission lines and affect the protection of pipelines that transport oil and gas. These phenomena are particularly intense at the Brazil’s space environment due to the large size of the country, distributed to the north and south of the geomagnetic equator, to the maximum geomagnetic declination and to the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly.

The Institute offers real-time information on the Internet, and makes forecasts about the Sun-Earth system to diagnose their effects on technological systems, such as navigation and geo-spatial positioning (aircraft, ships, oil platforms, precision agriculture), communication (geostationary satellites, aircraft), power distribution (transmission lines, pipelines for natural gas and oil), and national defense systems.

Through studies on electrodynamics processes of the equatorial and low latitudes ionosphere, INPE's researchers monitor physical parameters such as Sun characteristics, interplanetary space, magnetosphere, ionosphere and the mesosphere. Information is available at EMBRACE’s website: www.inpe.br/climaespacial

Source: WebSite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE)


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