Monday, July 9, 2012

'Portals' Found in Earth's Magnetic Field

Are We Getting Closer Towards Being Able To Travel Through Time?

The portals, or "x-points", were observed in the 1990s by NASA's Polar spacecraft and are thought to connect the magnetic field of the Earth with the magnetic field of the Sun, creating an uninterrupted path between the two atmospheres. The portals appear to be highly volatile, opening and closing several times a day while proving highly elusive and difficult to locate.

In 2014, NASA will be launching its MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission) to explore Jack Scudder’s (NASA funded University of Iowa researcher) new discovery of hidden portals in Earth’s magnetic field. This mission will include four separate spacecrafts working as a team to observe these portals. “…The magnetic field of Earth connects to the magnetic field of the Sun, creating an uninterrupted path leading from our own planet to the sun’s atmosphere 93 million miles away,” explains Scudder.
NASA defines a portal as “an extraordinary opening in space or time that connects travelers to distant realms,” and mentions “A good portal is a shortcut, a guide or door into the unknown.”

This recent discovery was actually not found by the use of new technology. To learn how to pinpoint the opening and closing of a portal, Scudder used the data from a space probe that orbited Earth over 10 years ago.

“In the late 1990s, NASA’s Polar spacecraft spent years in Earth’s magnetosphere,” explains Scudder, “and it encountered many X-points during its mission.”
It is said that the portals – or x-points – open and close dozens of times per day at unexpected intervals without any warning. Magnetic portals are known to be invisible, unstable and elusive.

The opening and closing of such x-points can have some strange effects. Bright polar auroras are one result, but another outcome is geomagnetic storms – temporary disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere. These storms release very high-energy particles that can cause radiation poisoning in humans and most mammals.

The use of these portals to explore faraway places in less time is still not yet a reality. This is due largely to the danger that it involves and the lack of knowledge that is involved in these portals. Perhaps someday in the far future, travel through the use of portals will be safe and available to everyone, and science fiction movies will become a reality. For now, there is still a lot unknown.

Scudder says that these portals “create an uninterrupted path leading from our own planet to the sun’s atmosphere” 150 million kilometres away.
Called X-points, or electron diffusion regions, they are located a few tens of thousands of kilometres from Earth. The portals are created through a process of magnetic reconnection in which lines of magnetic force from both celestial bodies mingle and criss-cross through space. The criss-crossing creates these x-points.

The portals are “invisible, unstable and elusive”, opening and closing without any warning. When they open, however, they are capable of transporting energetic particles at high speed from the sun’s atmosphere to Earth’s atmosphere, causing geomagnetic storms.

There’s a way to locate them, and Scudder has found it. He uses data by NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft and the ESA’s Cluster probes, following crucial clues found in the data from NASA’s Polar spacecraft, which studied Earth’s magnetosphere in the late 1990s:
Using Polar data, we have found five simple combinations of magnetic field and energetic particle measurements that tell us when we’ve come across an X-point or an electron diffusion region. A single spacecraft, properly instrumented, can make these measurements.
This is what the magnetic portals look like on the data gathered by NASA’s Polar spacecraft.

NASA is getting ready such a spacecraft in its Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission — four ships will be deployed around Earth and “surround the portals to observe how they work”. The spacecraft will launch in 2014. (NASA)

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