Nav: Home

NASA's MMS breaks Guinness World Record

November 04, 2016

NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS, is breaking records. MMS now holds the Guinness World Record for highest altitude fix of a GPS signal. Operating in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth, the MMS satellites set the record at 43,500 miles above the surface. The four MMS spacecraft incorporate GPS measurements into their precise tracking systems, which require extremely sensitive position and orbit calculations to guide tight flying formations.

Earlier this year, MMS achieved the closest flying separation of a multi-spacecraft formation with only four-and-a-half miles between the four satellites. When the satellites are closest to Earth, they move at up to 22,000 miles per hour, making them the fastest known operational use of a GPS receiver.

When MMS is not breaking records, it conducts ground-breaking science. Still in the first year of its prime mission, MMS is giving scientists new insight into Earth's magnetosphere. The mission uses four individual satellites that fly in a pyramid formation to map magnetic reconnection - a process that occurs as the sun and Earth's magnetic fields interact. Precise GPS tracking allows the satellites to maintain a tight formation and obtain high resolution three-dimensional observations.

Understanding the causes of magnetic reconnection is important for understanding phenomena around the universe from auroras on Earth, to flares on the surface of the sun, and even to areas surrounding black holes.

Next spring, MMS will enter Phase 2 of the mission and the satellites will be sent in to an even larger orbit where they will explore a different part of Earth's magnetosphere. During that time, the satellites are anticipated to break their current high altitude GPS record by a factor of two or more.
-end-


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Magnetic Reconnection Articles:

Magnetic memories of a metal world
Research deciphering the hidden magnetic messages encoded in a rare group of meteorites has helped secure nearly half a billion dollars of NASA funding for a journey to their parent asteroid -- the only known place in the solar system where scientists can examine directly what is probably a metallic core.
Even non-migratory birds use a magnetic compass
Not only migratory birds use a built-in magnetic compass to navigate correctly.
Discovery of a source of fast magnetic reconnection
Feature describes source of the acceleration of a common type of magnetic reconnection.
Manipulating magnetic textures
While the ability to easily control the magnetic properties of small electronic systems is highly desirable for future small electronics and data storage, an effective solution has proven to be extremely elusive.
Magnetic fields at the crossroads
Almost all information that exists in contemporary society is recorded in magnetic media, like hard drive disks.
Three magnetic states for each hole
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for Computing.
PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection
Physicist Fatima Ebrahimi has published a paper showing that magnetic reconnection -- the process in which magnetic field lines snap together and release energy -- can be triggered by motion in nearby magnetic fields.
Characterization of magnetic nanovortices simplified
Processors and storage media making use of tiny structures called 'skyrmions' could one day lead to the further miniaturization of IT devices and improve their energy efficiency significantly.
Perspectives on magnetic reconnection
Article describes latest research on magnetic reconnection.
Confirmation of Wendelstein 7-X magnetic field
Physicist Sam Lazerson of the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has teamed with German scientists to confirm that the Wendelstein 7-X fusion energy device called a stellarator in Greifswald, Germany, produces high-quality magnetic fields that are consistent with their complex design.

Related Magnetic Reconnection Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...