NASA's ICON satellite to study ionosphere, space weather

  • By Nandini Krishnamoorthy

NASA plans to launch a new satellite, the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, on 8 December. Orbiting above the upper atmosphere, through the bottom edge of near-Earth space, ICON will observes both the upper atmosphere and a layer of charged particles called the ionosphere, which extends from about 50 to 360 miles above the surface of Earth. ICON will observe how interactions between Earth's weather and the ionosphere create bright swaths of color in the sky, known as airglow, as well as other changes in the space environment.

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