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ICON, NASA's newest mission, launches on Wednesday



ICON or the Ionosphere Link Explorer gets a closer view of the upper atmosphere itself, 350 miles above the Earth. ICON can also measure particles directly and how they move. It is operated in light ribbons called airglow.

Airglow, which creates bands or red, green or violet and yellow light, occurs when atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere release too much energy because they receive so much of the sun in that region.

Unlike Auroras, Airglow is constant due to daily radiation and forms a gentle bubble around the Earth.

However, it is only visible when you orbit the Earth on the International Space Station or use a sensitive camera. The ground on a clear night.

"Any atmospheric gas has its preferred color for the airglow, depending on the gas, altitude and excitation process, so you can use Airglow to study different layers of the atmosphere," said Doug Rowland astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. "We do not study Airglow per se, but use it as a diagnosis."

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This will be in collaboration with another NASA mission that was launched this year , the GOLD mission, or global observations of the extremities and disk, which explores the zone between the Earth's atmosphere and the deepest reaches of space. where important communication satellites orbit.

GOLD examines the reaction of the upper atmosphere to the power of the sun, the magnetosphere and the lower atmosphere. More information about the ionosphere – a part of the upper Earth's atmosphere where solar radiation collides with gas that breaks down into electrons and ions – is the key. This dynamic environment is constantly changing and could easily disguise radio signals through our atmosphere.

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