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NASA to Explore Ionosphere Through NRL Space Weather Tech

Jeff Brody

The Naval Research Laboratory has deployed a thermospheric imaging tool designed to transmit space weather information from NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite.

Developed by NRL in partnership with St. Cloud State University, the Michelson Interferometer for Global High-Resolution Thermospheric Imaging instrument works to gauge temperature and wind profiles and help scientists observe the effects of solar and terrestrial weather to the ionosphere, the U.S. Navy said Friday.

The ionosphere is located atop the mesosphere and serves as a border between space and the Earth. NASA intends to use the ICON satellite to orbit the ionosphere and assist scientists in understanding its structure through the MIGHTI instrument.

“The ionosphere is where Earth ends or where space begins, and we haven’t studied it nearly enough to fully understand how it works and to make reliable predictions,” said Christoph Englert, lead investigator for MIGHTI.

NRL previously fielded two instruments in 2002 and 2007 to explore atmospheric chemistry 60 miles above the Earth's surface.

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