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Cold plasma layer detected high above Earth

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posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 08:27 PM
Cold plasma layer detected high above Earth
May shed light on how planet interacts with storms of charged particles from sun

Cold, electrically charged particles have long been suspected to exist tens of thousands of miles above the Earth's surface, and now scientists have detected such ions there for the first time. And they are significantly more abundant at those heights than previously imagined.

Cold is, of course, a relative term. Although these low-energy ions are 1,000 times cooler than what researchers might consider hot plasma, these particles still have an energy that would correspond to about 1 million degrees Fahrenheit. But because the density of the "cold" ions in space is so low, satellites and spacecraft can orbit through them without getting destroyed.

“The new cold plasma results might also help researchers explain atmospheric traits of other planets and moons, including alien worlds or exoplanets, André said.”

He also says it may shed light on what happened to Mars' atmosphere.

posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 09:02 PM
could probably learn more about Mars' atmosphere if the Russians would get a successful launch this decade :/

posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 09:03 PM
Wouldn't the actual spacecraft metal mass attract these ions more so than not? Correct me if I'm wrong but measures have been taken to reduce the metal to metal attraction in EVAs on orbiting spacecrafts performing repairs or maintenance. Special tools and or contact points have the metallic makeup reduced. I understood any two metallic objects in space will attract like magnets, hence, the theory of planetary accretion in a protoplanetary disk around a new star.

I know these folks are scientists and all, but have they considered they are measuring the very thing their spacecraft is accumulating? Making the measurements more dense than without the observational craft.

Like that cat in a box thing? (I know what its called). But no not really, that is different?

I'm sure they thought of that.

Help me understand what you mean about Mars's atmosphere, I thought I understood quite well. It became too inert at its size and distance from the sun and lack of tidal forces. Mars sort of lost from the getgo. I believe Mars died a couple billion years ago, unless it moved, which is doubtful considering Jupiter kept it there most likely, but not enough of an effect to keep it tectonically active.
edit on 26-1-2012 by Illustronic because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 09:08 PM
reply to post by Illustronic

I think they address that here:

However, detecting cold plasma at those high altitudes has proven difficult. Spacecraft that far up accumulate an electrical charge, due to sunlight that makes them repel the cold ions.

The breakthrough came with one of the European Space Agency's four CLUSTER spacecraft. These are equipped with a detector composed of thin wire arms that measure the electric field between them as the satellite rotates.

I have to quote them, because while I find it interesting,I don't really understand it.

posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 09:33 PM
reply to post by Pauligirl

Well we understand the thin wires are connected to a larger spacecraft, at least. I'm not sure why they would mention spinning, if these ions are traveling, like, very very fast.

Maybe my point is moot, however, I respect the knowledge you share here.
edit on 26-1-2012 by Illustronic because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 09:38 PM
This sounds to me like a power and tapable force for locomotion of some sort.....
maybe even electricity beamed to earth via giant microwave transmitter in space or some tesla esque device......
Is this in all of space, or just a belt of some kind, like a say the troposhere or whatever,
If this can be tapped for power, i could see huge colonies up there, or even factories spewing their pollution into the void instead of earths air and waters.....
earth could be transformed.

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