Swarm and Cluster Get to the Bottom of Geomagnetic Storms

The magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable impact on every day life. The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in solar winds. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The notion of living in a bubble is usually associated with negative connotations, but all life on Earth is dependent on the safe bubble created by our magnetic field. Understanding how the field is generated, how it protects us and how it sometimes gives way to charged particles from the solar wind is not just a matter of scientific interest, but also a matter of safety. Using information from ESA’s Cluster and Swarm missions along with measurements from the ground, scientists have, for the first time, been able to confirm that curiously named bursty bulk flows are directly connected to abrupt changes in the magnetic field near Earth’s surface, which can cause damage to pipelines and electrical power lines.

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From Monitoring Climate Change to Avoiding Space Debris – Pioneering Space Technology Gets UK Government Cash Boost

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Five UK organisations have been awarded a total of £300,000 [$416,884] from the UK Space Agency to speed up the development of innovative space technology.

Recipients include the University of Leeds, which will develop 3D printing methods and liquid-crystal technology, similar to that in our television screens at home, to develop far-infrared sensors for studying climate change and star formation.

Another project, led by Rocket Engineering in London, will create a compact propulsion system the size of a house brick for use in nano and small satellites. The engines use electromagnets to enable the satellites to move for in-orbit spacecraft servicing or space debris mitigation.

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SWRI-Led PUNCH Mission Achieves Milestone

SwRI developed and prototyped the Wide Field Imager for the PUNCH mission. The dark baffles in the top recess allow the instrument to image objects over a thousand times fainter than the Milky Way. (Credit: SwRI)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (SwRI PR) — On April 8, 2020, the Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) mission achieved an important milestone, passing NASA’s critical System Requirements Review/Mission Definition Review (SRR/MDR). Southwest Research Institute is leading PUNCH, a NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) mission that will integrate understanding of the Sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere visible during eclipses, with the tenuous “solar wind” filling the solar system.

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New ESA Lab Focuses on Advanced Manufacturing & Materials

The ESA–RAL Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory on Harwell Campus, UK, assesses new material processes, joining techniques and 3D printing technologies for application in space. (Credit: STFC–S. Kill)
The ESA–RAL Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory on Harwell Campus, UK, assesses new material processes, joining techniques and 3D printing technologies for application in space. (Credit: STFC–S. Kill)

HARWELL, UK (ESA PR) — ESA’s latest technical laboratory, inaugurated by Director General Jan Woerner, will help to understand the capabilities of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing techniques for future space missions.

The Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory is at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Harwell, Oxfordshire, directly adjacent to ESA’s UK facility.

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