UD's connection to a game-changing discovery in space exploration - Technical.ly Delaware


May 18, 2018 10:04 am

UD’s connection to a game-changing discovery in space exploration

Professor Michael Shay's analysis of NASA mission data found new insights on interstellar turbulence.

Please fasten your seatbelts.

(Video screenshot via NASA)

Last week, the science journal Nature published a study co-authored by University of Delaware professor Michael Shay that changes what we thought we knew about turbulent energy in space.

The study uses data collected during NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission in 2015.

Understanding space turbulence, in case you’re wondering, is an important aspect of space exploration and satellite technology.

UDaily’s Beth Miller reports:


Now, for the first time, the four spacecraft of the MMS have observed magnetic reconnection in a turbulent region of Earth’s outer atmosphere known as the magnetosheath, the planet’s first line of defense against the intensity of the solar wind. There, they found a new breed of magnetic reconnection—electron magnetic reconnection—that is much different than the kind that happens in the much less turbulent magnetosphere closer to Earth.

The new insights could help us understand properties of the universe far beyond our planet.

Read the full story

Collaborators on the paper include lead author Tai Phan, senior fellow in the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, postdoctoral researcher Colby Haggerty and graduate student Prayash Sharma Pyakurel, both members of Shay’s research group.

Organizations: University of Delaware
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