NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Launch Picture Perfect

By  //  March 12, 2015

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launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

An Atlas V rocket launched Thursday night at 10:44 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft on a mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun's magnetic fields. (NASA image)

An Atlas V rocket launched Thursday night at 10:44 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft on a mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun’s magnetic fields. (NASA image)

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FLORIDA – An Atlas V rocket launched Thursday night at 10:44 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft on a mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun’s magnetic fields.

The MMS mission studies the mystery of how magnetic fields around Earth connect and disconnect, explosively releasing energy via a process known a magnetic reconnection.

MMS consists of four identical spacecraft that work together to provide the first three-dimensional view of this fundamental process, which occurs throughout the universe.

The mission observes reconnection directly in Earth’s protective magnetic space environment, the magnetosphere.

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By studying reconnection in this local, natural laboratory, MMS helps us understand reconnection elsewhere as well, such as in the atmosphere of the sun and other stars, in the vicinity of black holes and neutron stars, and at the boundary between our solar system’s heliosphere and interstellar space.

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