Van Allen’s Probe marks First Anniversary With New Discoveries and New Investigations
by Geoff Brown - JHU/APL
One year after their launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:05 a.m. E DT on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes have already fundamentally changed how we understand the Van Allen radiation belts above our planet.
Data from the probes have already led to several significant discoveries, some made just days after the special twin spacecraft soared into orbit. The mission has answered one long-standing question about the nature and behavior of the belts, and revealed that the outer belt can split into two separate belts. With this first year of discovery and enhancements in operations as a cornerstone, the science teams of the Van Allen Probes (formerly named the Radiation Belt Storm Probes) are looking forward to unlocking further mysteries and advancing our knowledge of particle physics and the dynamics of space plasmas, as well as how to better protect space-based technologies like satellites…