Feeds

Nasa rocketeers probe aurora borealis solar interference

Sky shot seeks clues to GPS woes

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.