Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

And we've known about it since 1958.

Scientists studying the Van Allen belts have discovered new insights into how they function, which has implications for human space travel.

The Van Allen radiation belts are filled with plasma particles that are dangerous to humans and spacecraft.

The Van Allen radiation belts are filled with plasma particles that are dangerous to humans and spacecraft.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Van Allen belts, radiation, particles, hurricane, why


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There are at least two layers of charged plasma around the Earth, discovered in 1958 and dubbed the "Van Allen Belts" after the researcher who led the team that confirmed and mapped their existence.

A third, less strong belt was also recently observed.

The belts extend from about 600 to 1,000 miles above Earth and are a significant hazard to both spacecraft and astronauts. The belts, especially the larger outer one, rings the Earth like a doughnut.

These belts are a product of Earth's magnetic field and are filled with supercharged particles that zip about at velocities near the speed of light.

Scientists want to study and understand these belts because they create a virtual no-fly zone for spacecraft and astronauts. Any craft expected to pass through them for an extended period must be shielded against the radiation it will encounter. Plans to create long-term habitats for people in space will also have to account for the belts. The inner belt can, under certain conditions, descend to regions where astronauts currently travel, to within 200 miles of the Earth's surface.

Knowing more about these belts can help scientists plan better strategies for dealing with radiation in space. A major question they have asked is why the radiation in the belts is so intense.

Until now, is was suspected that highly-charged particles from space were simply trapped by the Earth in these belts and continued to race about near the speed of light. However, measurements taken by specially designed satellites now suggest the particles are being accelerated by the Earth itself, which works as a giant dynamo, supercharging atomic particles into radioactive plasma.

This "storm" of supercharged plasma has been recently described as a "hurricane" with scientists comparing the acceleration to the way warm ocean water fuels a hurricane.

Although most people may not understand the complex physics behind particle acceleration within the Van Allen belts, what we need to know is this: We now have a better understanding of what was previously a poorly understood, dangerous part of space.

Future astronauts and satellites operating in that region will now be better protected since we have a better understanding of what happens in the belts. How that understanding will translate into improvements is yet undetermined, but we now know more than we did before, and that's a good thing.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Technology

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH? Next step in human evolution could lead to eternal youth Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's life expectancy has grown over the years, thanks to medical advances. However, this does not necessarily translate into quality of life. Living longer sometimes means living in increasingly reduced circumstances due to infirmity and old age. ... continue reading


NASA's top scientist believes signs of alien life will be discovered 'within a decade' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said. The proclamation was made during a panel discussion that ... continue reading


From battle weapons to photographers, drones now cleverly used as advertisement model Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the past few years, drones have become efficient in making deliveries, serving as waiters and even doing photography on sporting events. Now, drones are starting to fly with advertisements. According Eugene Stark, founder of the company Hoovy, drones have ... continue reading


Removing human error: Planes without pilots new, viable option Watch

Image of Some advocates for air safety say that current advances in sensor technology, computing and artificial intelligence are making human pilots less necessary than ever in the cockpit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following the Germanwings tragedy, when a distraught copilot slammed a plane into the French Alps in a suicide that cost the lives of 150 other people on board, many are questioning the validity of pilots on planes. Some argue that human pilots are in fact ... continue reading


Is Facebook changing? Facebook plans to conquer the virtual world this year Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer promised that the Virtual Reality (VR) program will come into life within the year. The Oculus headset, which was on their top secret list before, was announced to be available soon, but the exact release date is not ... continue reading


Smartphones and Internet may be putting your child's mental health in jeopardy Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

The number of young people being admitted for mental treatments since 2010 has rapidly increased. Julie Lynn Evans, a psychotherapist for over 25 years now, is grateful for the additional funding being sent into mental health services, but she believes the dilemma ... continue reading


Stealth fighter jets in U.S. set to get massive upgrades Watch

Image of Pentagon officials have stressed the importance of developing the new long-range strike bomber calling it critical to national security and nuclear deterrence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mainstay of United States military defense, stealth bombers have been around since the Seventies. The Air Force's aging fleet is now ready for an expensive makeover. The Pentagon intends to develop a high-priority, super-classified, next-generation bomber. ... continue reading


Will you say 'hello' to Barbie? Mattel's new Barbie doll is 'creeping out' parents, raising concerns of privacy Watch

Image of Hello Barbie will allow its owner to carry on a conversation through recorded audio and WiFi.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Classic toy doll, Barbie, has been reinvented after the makers, Mattel received numerous requests for a Barbie doll that kids can talk to, according to a spokesperson of the toy company. Mattel's response is WiFi connected "Hello Barbie" that comes with an installed ... continue reading


Scientists find way to eliminate inherited diseases with genetically modified human eggs Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New gene-editing techniques are being improved and could soon eliminate inherited diseases from future generations by modifying the DNA of human egg cells. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although the idea of editing chromosomes in human eggs or sperm is feared, ... continue reading


Hidden spy cameras discovered at United States post office, installation confirmed by USPIS Watch

Image of freerepublic.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A hidden camera disappeared just after an hour of being discovered at a Denver local post office, Fox31 Denver reported. People became alarmed that they are being watched as they drop-off their mails with the possibility of the camera collecting their facial features ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 6:1-7
1 About this time, when the number of disciples was ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
4 The word of Yahweh is straightforward, all he does ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
16 That evening the disciples went down to the shore ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 18th, 2015 Image

St. Apollonius the Apologist
April 18: Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter