JUN 04, 2018 4:02 PM PDT

What is the South Atlantic Anomaly?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

As satellites orbit the Earth, they must be careful while passing through particular areas.

One of such areas is the South Atlantic Anomaly, which is a spot where cosmic radiation dips low enough through Earth’s protective magnetic field to damage the sensitive electronics onboard Earth-orbiting spacecraft as they pass through.

The radiation from this anomalous region of space has been known to cause problems for laptop computers on NASA’s Space Shuttle and is thought to be responsible for rendering Japan’s most capable X-ray space telescope inoperable.

The International Space Station sometimes passes through the South Atlantic Anomaly, but it's heavily-shielded to protect the astronauts onboard from radiation. Most spacecraft that move through this region simply deactivate until they’ve passed completely through it to prevent fried electronics.

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.
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