Keeping us safe from solar outbursts: NASA launches twin satellites to explore Earth’s treacherous radiation belts
Twin satellites rocketed into orbit Thursday on a quest to explore Earth’s treacherous Van Allen radiation belts and protect the planet from solar outbursts.
It’s the first time two spacecraft will orbit in tandem amid the punishing radiation belts of Earth, brimming with highly charged particles capable of wrecking satellites.
These new satellites — shielded with thick aluminum — are designed to withstand an onslaught of cosmic rays for the next two years.
“We’re going to a place that other missions try to avoid and we need to live there for two years. That’s one of our biggest challenges,” said Richard Fitzgerald, project manager for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in the U.S. state of Maryland. (AP Photo/Malcolm Denemark, Florida Today)