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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


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


Comments


More Technology

Mysterious heavenly body rightfully earns nickname as 'Nasty 1' Watch

Image of An artist's conception of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dubbed "Nasty 1" a mysterious new star is starting to live up to its weird nickname. Scientists viewing the star from the Hubble Space Telescope say the massive, mysterious star is surrounded by a huge, pancake-shaped disk of gas. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Flickr's auto-tagging feature creates racist and discriminating stirs Watch

Image of Instead of tagging a photo of a woman wearing a white mask as

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pictures are known to capture people's lives, nature and other events in history. This is the reason why Flickr, Yahoo's photo sharing / social networking site has become so popular amongst those who are found of taking snap shots of everything and anything ... continue reading


3 things Christians must refrain from posting about on Facebook Watch

Image of Be careful what you post on your Facebook.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians are becoming more and more active in the use of technology, as well as within participation on social media. While it is obvious that the trend of social networking has its scary downsides, it is also serving as one of the most popular platform to share ... continue reading


Feeling ill? Wi-Fi may be to blame for mysterious illnesses Watch

Image of Wi-fi sensitivity may be a real illness caused by wireless networks.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Do you use Wi-Fi on a regular basis? If you're using any sort of modern technology, that answer is yes, and while it certainly makes daily life easier, there may be a hidden danger. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Suzanne Hoyt, during an interview ... continue reading


Warning: Porn will currently not be blocked from Oculus' headset Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rift, Virtual Reality (VR) headset from Facebook-owned Oculus, is an open platform that owners can manipulate and use for whatever software they want, according to Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - As of the moment, there ... continue reading


A new danger in the skies? Hacker takes control of airplane's engine mid-flight Watch

Image of A cyber security expert is being investigated by the F.B.I. because of a hacking incident which occurred in April, where an airplane's engines were hacked in flight.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new document filed in U.S. federal court reveals that an airplane's engines were hacked mid-flight by a well known American hacker, using of all things, its inflight entertainment system. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chris Roberts, a cyber security ... continue reading


Technology takes us one step closer to immortality Watch

Image of In the future, a person may be able to store their brain on a hard drive so they can seemingly live forever.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Through modern technology, it is now possible to upload a brain to a computer. Martine Rothblatt and Ray Kurweil believe that human beings can actually live forever through the utilization of technological advancements. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Are you sure they are safe? Google's self-driving cars to hit the road this summer - to expected indifference Watch

Image of Google's self-driving cars, a squat two-seater is intended to shepherd fleets of vehicles that can drive with no need for human intervention.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google is set to unveil and sent out on to Northern Californian driveways their self-driving cars. While sounding fun and futuristic, the cars - dubbed by some as "clown cars" or "koala cars," are expected to met with mass indifference. Only 25 of the said ... continue reading


Why didn't Dell or HP do this? $9 computer raises $1 million on Kickstarter Watch

Image of Always with a keen eye on miniaturization, both in size and price, the computer world is looking towards CHIP with abiding interest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All it costs is $9, and it plugs into existing desktop setups. Called the CHIP, the tiny computer that could has raised more than $1 million in just five short days on Kickstarter. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 2.5-inch motherboard costs about the same ... continue reading


Internet domain names to be privatized by year's end Watch

Image of Fadi Chehade, the head of the nonprofit group expressed confidence that it would be privatized and out of U.S. government control by year's end.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With concerns over privacy and interference in everyday lives, at least one thing is escaping the control of the United States government -- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN will be free of U.S. government oversight by the end of ... 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, Sirach 36:5-6, 10-17
5 Send new portents, do fresh wonders, win glory for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:32-45
32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 27th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Canterbury
May 27: At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that ... 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