Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Plasma Bullets Trigger Northern Lights

When you stand under a curtain of the Northern Lights having just come out of the movie, The Thing, while on temporary duty in Keflavik Island, it can make for some strange feelings that make the hair on the back of your neck rise.
- LRK -

NASA Science News for July 24, 2008

Researchers have discovered what causes brilliant outbursts of Northern Lights: Gigantic plasma bullets launched toward Earth by explosions 1/3rd of the way to the Moon.


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Now if the high speed protons are aiming at Earth and the high speed electrons are heading out to space, and it was a Full Moon, and this happens, shouldn't I be able to pick up this energy on the Moon with a grid of antennas and do some energy storage, hmmm, hmmm. I wonder what other phenomena we will observe while looking Earthward from the Moon?
- LRK -

Just thinking out loud, but might there be some sort of energy signature generated by a metal asteroid hurling towards us in the path of our Sun's solar wind? Wouldn't it be nice to have more ways to detect those asteroids sneaking up on us in the glare of the Sun? And if you were on the Moon, could you add another data point and get some triangulation going. And while we are on a role, put some satellites at Sun - Earth L4 and L5 and map what is heading towards Earth. Just thinking out loud. Hmmm.
- LRK -

Some of you do have kids going through college that will help make it happen, yes? Nod your head yes. :-)
And if they are afraid of heights, well then they can help develop habitats in our oceans or practice going to the Moon while under the sea.
- LRK -

A bit off topic but just got back from spending a week with my mom and celebrating her 98th birthday. She is a little ticked off that she has to use a walker and the lady that road down the elevator with us is 101 and goes jogging. Mom says she is slowing down. I hope I was passed some of those genes and I am just slowing down at 98. Will need all the time I can get to see some of the use of space develop as I will be 71 at the end of the year.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

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Plasma Bullets Spark Northern Lights

July 24, 2008: Duck! Plasma bullets are zinging past Earth.

That's the conclusion of researchers studying data from NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft. The gigantic bullets, they say, are launched by explosions 1/3rd of the way to the Moon and when they hit Earth—wow. The impacts spark colorful outbursts of Northern Lights called "substorms."

"We have discovered what makes the Northern Lights dance," declares UCLA physicist Vassilis Angelopoulos, principal investigator of the THEMIS mission. The findings appear online in the July 24 issue of Science Express and in print August 14 in the journal Science.

The THEMIS fleet was launched in February 2007 to unravel the mystery of substorms, which have long puzzled observers with their unpredictable eruptions of light and color. The spacecraft wouldn't merely observe substorms from afar; they would actually plunge into the tempest using onboard sensors to measure particles and fields. Mission scientists hoped this in situ approach would allow them to figure out what caused substorms--and they were right.

The discovery came on what began as a quiet day, Feb 26, 2008. Arctic skies were dark and Earth's magnetic field was still. High above the planet, the five THEMIS satellites had just arranged themselves in a line down the middle of Earth's magnetotail—a million kilometer long tail of magnetism pulled into space by the action of the solar wind.

That's when the explosion occurred.


NASA's Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) aims to resolve one of the oldest mysteries in space physics, namely to determine what physical process in near-Earth space initiates the violent eruptions of the aurora that occur during substorms in the Earth's magnetosphere.

THEMIS is a 2-year mission consisting of 5 identical probes that will study the violent colorful eruptions of Auroras.




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