NASA, SpaceX team up to study Solar System's mysterious magnetic shield
3 min read
NASA plans to explore the magnetic barriers around the Solar System, and it will use a SpaceX Falcon 9 to do it.
NASA will work with SpaceX on a mission to explore the far reaches of the Solar System , according to the agency.

Last week, NASA announced SpaceX as their chosen partner to launch the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, first selected by the agency in June 2018. The probe will enable NASA to explore the Solar System's magnetic boundaries, known as the heliosphere, shedding light on some of the biggest mysteries about the liminal space between our Solar System and interstellar space. If all goes to plan, SpaceX will send up the probe in October 2024.

One of the key questions the probe could answer is why the Solar System's heliosphere, which is essentially a giant magnetic filter, only works so well. Scientists know particles emitted by the Sun form a solar wind, which shields the rest of the Solar System from particles and cosmic radiation coming in from other parts of the universe. But some neutral particles make it past this filter, infiltrating our cosmic neighborhood.

The research could also help humans achieve more ambitious crewed missions into space. The probe will also observe cosmic rays and enable scientists on the ground to better understand how they form. These rays could play a role in life in the universe, NASA explains, but they can also cause issues for astronauts and space equipment. This is a major concern going forward, as…
Mike Brown
Read full article