NASA plans to study space weather in August 2022: Details inside
New Delhi : NASA is planning to set a new mission to study the vast weather system around our planet. Dubbed as Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) mission, it will be launched in August 2022.
Costing around $42 million, the AWE mission is attached to the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS), the US space agency said in a statement.
AWE will focus on colourful bands of light in Earth's atmosphere, called airglow which will determine the combination of forces drive space weather in the upper atmosphere.
"This mission absolutely meets that standard with a creative and cost-effective mission to solve mysteries about Earth's upper atmosphere," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Director of Astrophysics.
Experts felt the requirement to study space weather because it can have profound impacts on technology, astronauts in space, radio communications and power grids.
Earlier, it was assumed that only the Sun's constant outflow of ultraviolet light and particles, the solar wind, could affect the region. However, researchers now have learned that solar variability is not enough to drive the changes observed, and Earth's weather also must be having an effect.
NASA's space weather mission will investigate how waves in the lower atmosphere, caused by variations in the densities of different packets of air, impact the upper atmosphere.
NASA also has selected the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) for a seven-month, $100,000 extended formulation study. SunRISE would be an array of six CubeSats operating like one large radio telescope.
The AWE mission would investigate how giant space weather storms from the Sun are accelerated and released into planetary space.