Scientists Map Edge of Space

April 10, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Physics and Astronomy Researchers from the University of Calgary developed an instrument to map the edge of space at the point where the earth’s atmosphere gives way to the more turbulently charged particles of space. A device called the Supra-Thermal Ion Imager was placed in a NASA rocket, launched from Alaska two years ago, to take measurements as the rocket crossed the earth space frontier.

After studying the data from the Supra Imager, scientists can now pinpoint on a map, exactly where space begins. Oh and by the way, it’s precisely 118 km above Earth, in case you need to mark it on your space map.

Calgary scientists say this was the first time upper atmospheric winds were measured. This data is important in understanding the effects of space on the Earth’s climate and environment. By measuring the flow of space energy into the Earth’s atmosphere, weather patterns can be predicted.

Scientists can develop a better understanding of the connection between sunspots and changes in the Earth’s climate, as well as anticipate how space weather may effect satellites. With weather disturbances cause by global warming, this data may allow scientists to develop more accurate advance warning systems for severe weather patterns, such as a hurricane.

The Supra Imager is now being used as a prototype for three instruments in the development stage, which are scheduled to fly next year with the European Space Agency’s “Swarm” satellite mission.

The results of the study was published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research.


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One Response to “Scientists Map Edge of Space”

  1. Keeping Green » Scientists Map Edge of Space on April 10th, 2009 3:05 pm

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