The UK Space Agency has announced a collaboration between NASA and ESA to produce a system that will forecast and monitor space weather as it may impact astronauts and science instruments beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
The space is becoming a home not just to celestial bodies but to human as well, through various launch that takes human far beyond the beautiful and protective atmosphere of Earth. Many Scientific instruments are also in space sending us useful data to make us better understand our own Earth and the Space.
As is the case with Earth, there are different type of weather conditions in space too, mostly extreme and critical. Analysing this before hand and predicting a possible occurrence will help us a lot.
This is what ESA and NASA are trying to do now. In a publication by UK Space Agency, they stated this and explained the touching reason for this:
“The Sun is always emitting magnetised plasma called the ‘solar wind’. While conditions are often benign, strong solar wind can produce disruptive space weather by disturbing the Earth’s magnetic field.”
“More severe space weather can occur when the Sun occasionally discharges large bubbles of magnetised plasma known as coronal mass ejections. Extreme events can be hazardous to astronauts and impact electrical infrastructure, telecommunications systems, aviation and satellite navigation”
The UK Space Agency has already put in £7million of funding for scientists at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory(MSSL) to develop a plasma analyser which will be launched into deep space to help detect predict any critical space weather.
The publication quoted Dr Graham Turnock, CEO UK Space Agency as saying:
“The space weather mission projects our global influence by partnering with Europe and the USA, driving and protecting future UK knowledge and prosperity, and keeping Britain safe and secure from potential impacts of space weather.”
Two Solar monitoring satellites are expected to be launch in the next five years.