More immediate news you may have heard from the SciShow about the satellite that launched last week.
It’s called the Soil Moisture Active Passive Observatory and it’s going to be super useful for people who need to know how much water is in their soil. Which sounds maybe like a fairly small group but it turns out to be basically anyone who cares about food, climate, and the environment in general.
The Rocky of that a little cute payload as well CubSats. These twin tiny satellites are less than 16 cm on each side and they're heading to the Van Allen Belt to study space weather. Van Allen Radiation Belts are collection of charged particles that stretch between 1000 then 60,000 km above the earth where they interact with the Earth's magnetosphere. And every so often some extra powerful bursts of solar wind will send those particles, usually electrons, into frenzy.
They call them micro bursts. These solar blasts can accelerate the electrons to close to the speed of light and all that zipping around can cause some serious problems for the computers or spacecraft.
We do our best to shield all of the electronics we send up there of course but when you are spending billions of dollars to send people and equipment into free fall around the planet you really want your computer to work.
So these Cubesats together known by the wicked moniker of "FireBird II" are the second part of the mission to map when micro bursts happen and how big of an area they affect? When a super fast electron hit's the projectors in the Cubesats it will get recorded as a data point.
By plotting the points the researchers are able to map the times and locations of the micro bursts. So hope is that eventually we will be able to predict where and when and how these micro bursts happen.
Subscribe to the SciShow for more video updates and watch the update here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvlqaGp0xGk