To protect satellites in space, NASA is exposing a small spacecraft to a large amount of radiation. NASA's space environment test (SET) mission is scheduled to launch a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on June 24 as part of a technology test mission called the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2). , SET has set itself the goal of investigating space weather which relates to weather conditions in the solar system, and investigating the effects of radiation on spacecraft to build better-equipped space for future space exploration.
"You don & # 39;; I do not want to market anything that does not stand up to the environment," said Nicola Fox, director of NASA's Department of Heliophysics, during a media call on June 7. "These are special missions help us find the right materials and the best possible technology we can use in space. "
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Radiation is one of the main threats threatening space missions. Energetic particles emitted by the sun or found in space can damage both spacecraft software and hardware over time.
SET is one of three experiments with the spacecraft Demonstration and Science
(known as DSX), a US Air Force spacecraft that is itself one of 24 different payloads deployed on SpaceX's STP-2 mission start. The goal is the gap between Earth's Radiation Girdles, known as Van Allen Belt . The gap that scientists call a slot region is full of radiation captured by the planet's magnetic field ̵
"There were not too many measurements to say how bad it gets in the slot region," said Michael Xapsos of the SET Project Scientist Team in a statement . "That's why we're going there."
NASA hopes to use the information gathered by SET on space weather in the area to build not only better protected, but also more efficient spaceships.
"We want to make sure we have the right freedom of action," said Fox. "It's very expensive to put kilograms into space … God knows, you do not have to launch a battleship if you only need a dinghy."
Visit Space.com on Monday, June 24, to receive a complete coverage of the STP -2 mission.