Feeds

Nasa rocketeers probe aurora borealis solar interference

Sky shot seeks clues to GPS woes

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.