Public Lectures

NASA’s MMS Mission: Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Magnetic Reconnection

Published on September 5, 2016

Speaker:Allison Jaynes
Date:Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Time:7:30 PM
Location:LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Seminar Abstract:

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission launched in March 2015 and placed four identical spacecraft into orbit around Earth to study a little-understood phenomenon called magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process of nature that happens in charged particles all across our universe. Reconnection occurs when magnetic field lines meet and reconnect in a different configuration, releasing a gigantic burst of energy in the process. MMS is the only mission currently dedicated to the study of this phenomenon.

In this presentation, Allison Jaynes will discuss the early results from the mission, and the key role LASP plays in the mission itself. Reconnection on the Sun-ward side of Earth contributes to plasma entry into Earth’s magnetosphere, while reconnection on the night-side triggers the burst of particles that results in auroral displays. Researchers working on MMS are committed to answering questions surrounding the process of reconnection; questions that are fundamental to the nature of our universe, from the distant stars to nuclear fusion technology here on Earth. Come learn how studying our near-Earth environment with missions like MMS makes use of a unique, nearby laboratory to understand the physics of magnetic fields across the universe.

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