Feeds

Nasa rocketeers probe aurora borealis solar interference

Sky shot seeks clues to GPS woes

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A NASA-funded team has shot a sensor package, dubbed the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling in the Alfvén resonator (MICA), into the heart of a form of aurora borealis to seek clues that could minimize electronic interference from solar storms.

Mellanox SX1024 10GE/40GE switch

The second stage of MICA falls to Alaska (click to enlarge)

The team camped out in Fairbanks, Alaska for the shot, using a 40-foot twin stage Terrier-Black Brant rocket to loft electric and magnetic field sensors into the natural wonder specifically to measure the effects on electrical conductivity of Alfvén waves, which form some of the long ribbons seen on Northern Lights displays. After intense solar storms, the rocket hit its target around 200 miles up, broadcasting real-time data as it went.

“We were using NASA equipment to get the telemetry back from the rocket,” physicist Marc Lessard, from the University of New Hampshire's Space Science Center, told The Register during a brief stop on his way back from Alaska. “In all we were getting between 8-10Mbps on the stream. The data so far looks very good.”

Fisheye camera shot of MICA rocket shot into aurora borealis

A launch view from below

The rocket itself landed about 200 miles off the launch pad at the Poker Flat Research Range, but the data retrieved could help advance the understanding of how the energy from the sun affects the atmosphere, causing interference in everything from GPS to simple radio communications.

2012 promises to be a golden year for researchers in this field – but a disappointment for global doom-mongers. With the solar maximum due, scientists are looking to get a better understanding of the kind of forces that can interfere with global communications in order to mitigate the worst effects of solar energy.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.