WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Scientists are used to studying weather here on earth, but what about an entire new forecast for space.
A new mission from NASA will study “space weather” with the help of the launch of the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or “ICON.”
NASA Scientist Dr. Alex Young explained to us just what the ionosphere is.
“An interaction of particles that originally come from the sun from what is called the solar wind, interacting with the upper atmosphere,” Dr. Young said.
Scientists at the NASA Center in Maryland have been waiting for the launch of ICON for over a year.
They said what they learn can not only help them understand space, but also improve GPS systems for humans here on Earth.
“All of this technology like aircraft or autonomous cars, even farmers using sophisticated GPS to track their crops, it’s all affected by this,” Young added.
Young said the answers don’t end there. The results could give a glimpse into life beyond earth.
“When we take what we learn here locally and we use that information to help us understand what’s happening on other planets and that tells us, can life form, is life possible, could we eventually go there?”
Space mission ICON could launch as early as Wednesday night.
But it won’t look like your typical launch. A plane will first give the satellite a boost into space over the Atlantic Ocean.
After that just what “ICON” may find is up in the air.