The aurora borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) has long been known to be an effect resulting from the Sun’s solar wind pushing particles into the earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. In light of the possible danger that these substorms could pose to astronauts & equipment, NASA is now planning a mission to track down these magnetic storms and disturbances. The program’s not so catchy name of Time History of Events and Macroscale Interaction during Substorms has a slightly catchier acronym of THEMIS. From the article, “In order to scan the Earth’s magnetic field and pinpoint the origin of substorms, THEMIS researchers plan to stagger their spacecraft in different orbits that range in altitude from 10 to 30 times the radius of the Earth (the planet’s radius is about 3,962 miles, or 6,378 kilometers).
News source: SLASHDOT