Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















University Of Leicester Study Into Earth's Magnetic Shield

An artist's impression of the view of the Earth from the Moon if we could see in X-rays. The Earth is surrounded by an X-ray glow caused by particles from the Sun colliding with the gas trapped within the Earth's magnetic shield.
by Staff Writers
Leicester, UK (SPX) Oct 10, 2007
Scientists from the University of Leicester have taken an important first step in developing an innovative telescope which could one day be deployed on the Moon. The telescope is called MagEX, which stands for "Magnetosheath Explorer in X-rays" and is an international collaboration between scientists from the United States, the Czech Republic, and the University of Leicester. MagEX will study the magnetosheath, the magnetic "shield" that protects the Earth from the solar wind - the high energy particles that continuously flow out from the Sun. Without this shield, life on Earth as we know it could not exist.

MagEX was submitted to NASA for consideration in their Lunar Sortie Science Opportunites (LSSO) programme and has cleared the first selection hurdle; it will now receive NASA funding for a technical feasibility study.

The LSSO program is part of NASA's New Vision for Space Exploration Program announced by President Bush in 2004. The President committed NASA to return men to the Moon for the purpose of scientfic exploration. This new generation of NASA astronauts will set-up scientific experiments on the lunar surface, just like their Apollo colleagues did over four decades before them. MagEX could be one of those experiments.

The MagEX telescope will be quite compact, being less than one metre tall. It is designed to be placed on the lunar surface, facing back towards the Earth. The Moon is the ideal location for measuring the X-ray emission of the magnetosheath.

Looking from the Moon, the Earth's magnetosheath covers an area about 30 degrees across on the sky. The magnetosheath glows as solar wind particles strike gas trapped within the region, however, the glow is not in visible light but in X-rays. Invisible to the human eye, X-rays require specialised instruments to detect them. X-rays are produced by many astrophysical phenomenona such as black holes, quasars, stars and galaxies.

The lead Leicester scientist on MagEX, Dr Steven Sembay, said : "MagEX will be unique in that it will be able to view our Earth's entire magnetosheath for the first time. The magnetosheath is not static, but contracts and expands quite dramatically as the solar wind pressure changes during solar storms. The view from the moon should be quite spectacular"

NASA's manned return to the Moon is still some way-off. It will probably be the end of the next decade at least before an astronaut steps foot on the lunar surface again. Dr Steven Sembay said, "Like all space projects, we are in for the long haul. But every long journey starts with a first step."

The Department of Physics at the University of Leicester has a 40 year history of designing X-ray detectors for space science exploration. These currently include instruments onboard ESA's XMM-Newton observatory, NASA's gamma-ray burst mission, Swift, and in the future, on ESA's BepiColombo mission to explore Mercury.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
University of Leicester
MagEX - Magnetosheath Explorer in X-rays
Dirt, rocks and all the stuff we stand on firmly



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Life-Giving Rocks From A Depth Of 250 km
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Sep 27, 2007
If our planet did not have the ability to store oxygen in the deep reaches of its mantle there would probably be no life on its surface. This is the conclusion reached by scientists at the University of Bonn who have subjected the mineral majorite to close laboratory examination. Majorite normally occurs only at a depth of several hundred kilometres under very high pressures and temperatures. The Bonn researchers have now succeeded in demonstrating that, under these conditions, the mineral stores oxygen and performs an important function as an oxygen reservoir.







  • Vietnam villagers face hunger amid floods
  • 3,000 evacuated after China landslide blocks river
  • Running Shipwreck Simulations Backwards Helps Identify Dangerous Waves
  • ORNL Resilience Plan To Help Tennessee, Mississippi And South Carolina Communities Beat Disaster

  • Newfound Ancient African Megadroughts May Have Driven The Evolution Of Humans And Fishes
  • China offers surprise hope in climate change fight
  • More droughts, floods for Australia as globe heats up
  • Washington Climate Meeting Wraps Up As Bush Goes On Attack

  • Successful Image Taking By The High Definition Television
  • Boeing Launches WorldView-1 Earth-Imaging Satellite
  • New Faraway Sensors Warn Of Emerging Hurricane's Strength
  • Key Sensor For Northrop Grumman NPOESS Program Passes Critical Structural Test

  • Study says French C02 target unattainable: report
  • Steel producers search for global plan to cut CO2 emissions
  • Spanish Power Company To Build Wind Farm In Russia
  • Russia To Cut Time To Consider Foreign Bids For Strategic Assets

  • China denies cover-up of pig disease
  • China confirms bird flu outbreak: HK official
  • Expert says climate change will spread global disease
  • Northern Iraq battles cholera 'epidemic'

  • Which Came First, The Chicken Genome Or The Egg Genome
  • Fair Play In Chimpanzees
  • Mountain gorillas in danger as DR Congo rebels overrun habitat
  • US scientist heralds 'artificial life' breakthrough

  • US settles record environmental suit against power firm
  • Hong Kong choking in dense smog
  • Toxic waste dump killing children in Kenya: UN report
  • US lawmaker warns of scary lead levels in Halloween items

  • Negativity Is Contagious
  • How Emotionally Charged Events Leave Their Mark On Memory
  • Walker's World: Get rich and shut up
  • Go East old man: Neanderthals reached China's doorstep

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement