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NASA Schedules Two Rocket Missions to Research Coronal Nanoflares, Atoms

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deep_spaceNASA has scheduled the launch of two new sounding-rocket missions to take place in 2018 as the space agency aims to explore coronal nanoflares and escaping atoms.

The Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science program funds the Focusing Optics X-ray Imager-3 and Visualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral Atom Sensing-2 projects that will employ updated measurement techniques and instruments to conduct its respective investigations, NASA said Thursday.

Lindsay Glesener of the University of Minnesota will lead the FOXSI-3 program that will look to observe faint events on the sun and search for tiny releases of energy called nanoflares via updated optics and detectors.

“Since nanoflares theoretically convert magnetic energy into kinetic and thermal energies, they are an obvious candidate for supplying the needed energy to heat the million-degree corona,” said Steven Christe, FOXSI-3 co-investigator.

VISIONS-2’s goal is to investigate the outflow of oxygen ions from the Earth’s upper atmosphere and into the magnetosphere, observe movement during the day from the planet’s magnetic cusps and gain knowledge to help understand physics that influence its magnetosphere.

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