Van Allen Probes

Exploring Earth's Radiation Belts and the Extremes of Space Weather

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since 30 Aug. 2012, 04:05:00 EDT

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February 12, 2019
Radiation Belts Revealed and Conquered, NASA's Van Allen Probes Begin Final Phase of Exploration »

Two tough, resilient NASA spacecraft have been orbiting Earth for the past six and a half years, flying repeatedly through a hazardous zone of charged particles known as the Van Allen radiation belts.

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The Van Allen Probes, the second mission of NASA's Living With a Star program, are providing unprecedented insight into the physical dynamics of the radiation belts and are providing scientists the data they need to make predictions of changes in this critical region of space.

Since their launch on Aug. 30 2012, the two Van Allen Probes have orbited the Earth, sampling the harsh radiation belt environment where major space weather activity occurs and many spacecraft operate.

The two spacecraft are measuring the particles, magnetic and electric fields, and waves that fill geospace. Only with two spacecraft taking identical measurements, and following the same path, can scientists begin to understand how the belts change in both space and time.

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