NSA Launches Rocket into the Aurora Borealis

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 6:26:01 by

NSA Launches Rocket into the Aurora Borealis

Astronomers from NASA have successfully launched a NASA-Funded rocket into the aurora borealis which is commonly known as the northern lights. The 46-foot rocket, the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling in the Alfvén resonator (MICA), launched from the Poker
Flat Research Range, 30 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The rocked arced 200 miles upward before plunging directly into the lights.

When charge particles, that emanate when sun hits the Earth’s upper atmosphere and produces lights that is the reason behind the Auroras occurrence.

MICA with the help of instruments aboard will probe the magnetic fields that arise from these collisions.

The information will help researchers understand how the charged particles, or solar wind, affect Earth. This data is important since Sol is currently entering an enhanced period of activity, and electromagnetic storms are detrimental to satellites orbiting
the Earth.

MICA also studied the
Alfvén waves
, a special form of electromagnetic energy which travels through plasma and act similarly to sound waves. When solar wind hits the ionosphere, it strikes the Alfvén resonator, a structure that’s a narrow channel in the atmosphere, hundreds of
miles tall, but only six miles in width. This structure is said to reverberate at a certain frequency in response to the sun’s energy. It’s possible that this could also generate auroras.

MICA isn’t the first rocket of its kind. In 2009, two other rockets flew into the aurora borealis.



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