Thursday, 14 February 2013

Van Allen radiation belt

The NASA Van Allen Probes mission will go further and gain scientific understanding (to the point of predictability) of how populations of relativistic electrons and ions in space form or change in response to changes in solar activity and the solar wind. NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts–funded studies have proposed magnetic scoops to collect antimatter that occurs naturally in the Van Allen belts of Earth, although it is estimated only about 10 micrograms of antiprotons exist in the entire belt.

The Van Allen Probes mission was successfully launched on August 30, 2012.[5] The primary mission is scheduled to last 2 years, with expendables expected to last for 4 years. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the overall Living with a Star program of which Van Allen Probes is a project, along with Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The Applied Physics Laboratory is responsible for the overall implementation and instrument management for the Van Allen Probes.

Van Allen radiation belts do exist on other planets in the solar system, whenever a planet or moon has a magnetic field that is powerful enough to sustain a radiation belt. However, many of these radiation belts have been poorly mapped. The Voyager Program (namely Voyager 2) only nominally confirmed the existence of similar belts on Uranus and Neptune.