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Specifically, and in priority order, MMS will address three main objectives:
|* Determine the role played by electron inertial effects and turbulent dissipation in regulating magnetic reconnection in the electron diffusion region. |
|* Determine the role played by electron inertia and turbulence in regulating magnetic reconnection. |
|* Determine the rate of magnetic reconnection and the parameters that control it. |
|* Determine the role played by ion inertial effects in the physics of magnetic reconnection. |
|* Determine the role played by ion inertia and turbulence in magnetic reconnection. |
Everyone knows magnets exert forces, but did you know that magnetic fields act a lot like muscles that store and release energy as they tie space plasmas together? Magnetic connections switch in a process called "reconnection" that controls space weather forces and energy flows. The switch occurs in tiny volumes of space called "diffusion regions" where the magnetic field lines take an "X" shape separating magnetic muscles that connect two plasmas from those that do not. MMS will observe how, when and where the magneto-muscular switch occurs and why it is often explosive, especially when one plasma tears free from another.