ICON: Ionospheric Connection Explorer is a new mission of NASA. This mission will facilitate in measuring the winds of ionized atoms which are at the edge of space. Also, it will help in learning about the impact of atmospheric weather on it.
It essential for scientists to understand effects of tropical storms on Earth on magnetic storms which are 60 miles above our head.
ICON is designed and built both at Space Science Laboratory which belongs to UC Berkeley. The scheduled launch of ICON is on 14th of June. It will start examining the ionosphere and upper atmosphere mostly by this August.
Now we are aiming to catch everything which is coming at the boundary of space. Anything which will enter there definitely we are going to see. Said Thomas Immel, who is principal investigator at Space Sciences Laboratory.
On June 4 there is a pre-launch press conference. To attend this press conference, reporters are invited. Along with this media, persons are also invited for taking active participation in a science briefing in which a model of ICON will be on display. And using this model reporters can take a tour of mission control for the satellite. The science briefing will be held at Space Sciences Laboratory on 13th of June.
It is aimed to orbit ICON about 350 miles above the surface of the earth. Though it will be at 350 miles above it will look down the region which is 60 miles above the earth surface. Here the sun shines continuously, which creates a lot a heat. Also, UV rays of sun remove electrons from oxygen atoms which lead to the production of ionized gas.
This ionized gas interacts with Earth ’s magnetic field, Later they migrate along the field lines, and this migration leads to the generation of electric fields.
The ultimate result received by all this movement of ionized gas is waves of plasma that encircle the globe. This is most clearly visible becomes auto-glow in green, ultraviolet as well as in red.
The goal of ICON will also include measurement of changes in ionospheric plasma when magnetic storms from the sun hit it. And at last, all these observations discovered by ICON and all other orbiting satellites will be studied as a whole by combing them. Later space weather of next day will be predicted based on the entire today’s observation.