Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission

  • NASA’s mission
  • It is an unmanned space mission to study the Earth’s magnetosphere, using four identical satellites flying in a tetrahedral or pyramid formation.
  • Objectives:
      • The mission launched in March 2015 aims to map magnetic reconnection, a process that occurs as the sun and Earth’s magnetic fields interact.
      • Understanding causes of magnetic reconnection is important for understanding phenomena of auroras on Earth, flares on surface of sun, and areas surrounding black holes.
      • The mission is also designed to gather information about the microphysics of energetic particle acceleration and turbulence, processes that occur in many astrophysical plasmas.
  • Significance:
      • When these satellites are closest to Earth, they move at up to 35,405 km/hour, making them the fastest known operational use of a GPS receiver.
      • These satellites operate in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth and incorporate GPS measurements into their precise tracking systems.
      • This system which require extremely sensitive position and orbit calculations to guide tight flying formations.

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