The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) has broken the Guinness World record for highest altitude fix of a GPS signal.
The four MMS flights used the GPS navigation at an altitude of 70,000 km above Earth’s surface, to stay in a tight flying formation while they surveyed the Earth’s magnetic field.
Here’s all you should know about MMS:
- The mission investigates how the Sun and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect while transferring energy from one to another in a process known as magnetic reconnection
- Four similar instrumented space craft measure plasmas, fields and particles in areas that face frequent reconnection
- The mission will also help establish knowledge, methods and technologies applicable to future space weather missions and the future growth and development of space weather forecasting
- The adjustable pyramid-like formation of the four space craft helps them to observe the three dimensional structure of magnetic reconstruction
- It helps them to determine if the reconnection occurs in an isolated locale, everywhere within a larger region at once, or traveling across space
- Earlier, the mission had held a separate record for being the closest flying spacecraft in a formation, with a distance of only 7 kms between two satellites
What is magnetic reconnection?
Magnetic reconnection is a process that occurs as the Sun and the Earth’s magnetic field’s interact.
Studying magnetic connections enables scientists to understand various phenomenon ranging from flares on the Sun’s surface to auroraâ€™s in Earth’s atmosphere.
The satellites are scheduled to go higher orbit to take a look at a different area of the magnetosphere in Spring, which will commence the second phase of the mission. During the stage the satellites are expected to double their current record.
Source: India Today