MAY 14, 2016 9:25 AM PDT

NASA Flies MMS Through Magnetic Reconnection in Space

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA recently made a major scientific breakthrough in understanding the way a magnetic reconnection works in space.
 
A magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon that we’ve had a lot of trouble understanding for years, but thanks to a recent observation from a set of four satellites known as MMS that NASA recently flew straight through a magnetic reconnection between the magnetic fields of our Earth and the Sun, we now know a little bit more and have been able to observe it up close.

NASA compares it, in a public statement, to sending sensors flying into a hurricane to collect data.

These four satellites are positioned in a pyramind formation so that they can create an accurate 3D map of anything that they study, that's exactly what NASA did when they watched the magnetic reconnection up close.
 
Published in the journal Science, the findings from the fly-through note that in a magnetic reconnection, particles that are both positively and negatively charged are ejected in various directions when a magnetic field connects or reconnects due to an “explosive” reaction.

"One of the mysteries of magnetic reconnection is why it’s explosive in some cases, steady in others, and in some cases, magnetic reconnection doesn’t occur at all," NASA's MMS mission scientist Tom Moore said in a statement.

Massive amounts of energy are released at the time of a magnetic reconnection, although sometimes they can be explosive and sometimes they can be slow and steady.

Because magnetic fields surround the Earth and other spatial bodies, these kinds of phenomenon are very common in space. Just like the Earth has its gravitational pull, spatial objects have their magnetic fields. On the other hand, despite how common they are in space, scientists have never really been able to study them up close until now.

In the video demonstration below, the phenomenon is explained in a far more visual manner and you can see how the particles travel following the magnetic reconnection:
 


You can bet NASA is going to continue to study these things up close to better understand how they work, as magnetic fields are one of the most important parts of our planet that helps it to sustain life.

Source: NASA, YouTube
About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 13, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Think again: does the presence of oxygen really mean life on other planets?
APR 13, 2021
Think again: does the presence of oxygen really mean life on other planets?
Does the presence of oxygen mean the existence of life? That’s a question that scientists have been debating over ...
MAY 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
What is the Potential for Life on Mars?
MAY 17, 2021
What is the Potential for Life on Mars?
International organizations are pouring in billions of dollars to find signs of life on Mars. While some evidence points ...
MAY 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Oxygen Conditions Needed for Emergence of Complex Life Discovered
MAY 21, 2021
Oxygen Conditions Needed for Emergence of Complex Life Discovered
For some time, scientists have supported the ‘Oxygen Control Hypothesis’. The theory states that higher leve ...
JUL 04, 2021
Space & Astronomy
After the Big Bang Came the Cosmic Dawn
JUL 04, 2021
After the Big Bang Came the Cosmic Dawn
It's been estimated that the universe began about 13.8 billion years ago in a violent explosion known as the Big Bang. R ...
AUG 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
AUG 09, 2021
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
Magnetization on the moon may come from impact events from objects like meteors instead of the presence of a magnetic sh ...
SEP 10, 2021
Space & Astronomy
NASA Announces December Launch Date for James Webb Space Telescope
SEP 10, 2021
NASA Announces December Launch Date for James Webb Space Telescope
Recently, NASA confirmed that the gamut of earth-based testing for the James Webb Space Telescope has been completed. Ju ...
Loading Comments...