NASA: We’ve discovered a previously unknown surprise circling Earth
NASA’s recently deployed Van Allen probes — a pair of robotic spacecraft launched just last August to investigate Earth’s eponymous pair of radiation belts — are already turning out some very unexpected findings.
Chief among them: an ephemeral third ring of radiation, previously unknown to science, surrounding our planet.
NASA says the discovery was a lucky one. Just three days after the Van Allen probes launched, a team of researchers led by planetary scientist Daniel Baker made an unusual last-minute request that their radiation belts (REPT) be turned on earlier than scheduled, in hopes that their observations would overlap with those of another mission called SAMPEX. What happened next was entirely unexpected. Continue via, IO9