Almost all of this week’s space excitement has been on Mars, where NASA’s latest rover, Perseverance, landed and started returning incredible views, such as video of his landing – first a movie.
I say “almost”, because a supply launch at the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, February 20, carried a small satellite designed and built by a team from Montana State University in Bozeman. A Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply spacecraft has taken off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and less than two hours later docked at the space station.
The “IT-SPINS” satellite will remain on the orbiting space station until spring, when it will orbit alone and measure the outer edges of the Earth’s atmosphere, circling the planet 14 times a day. The six-month mission is the twelfth satellite that MSU students have sent into space since 2015. This has a sensor that will measure ultraviolet light in the upper layers of our planet’s atmosphere, an area called the ionosphere and thermosphere. Ultraviolet and X-ray radiation. from our Sun can cause ions around the Earth to increase and emit its own light, which can interfere with satellites and space …
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