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Waspie_Dwarf

The Invisible World of Electric Asteroids

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New NASA Model Gives Glimpse into the Invisible World of Electric Asteroids

Space may appear empty -- a soundless vacuum, but it's not an absolute void. It flows with electric activity that is not visible to our eyes. NASA is developing plans to send humans to an asteroid, and wants to know more about the electrical environment explorers will encounter there.

A solar wind blown from the surface of the sun at about a million miles per hour flows around all solar system objects, forming swirling eddies and vortices in its wake. Magnetic fields carried by the solar wind warp, twist, and snap as they slam into the magnetic fields around other objects in our solar system, blasting particles to millions of miles per hour and sending electric currents surging in magnetic storms that, around Earth, can damage sensitive technology like satellites and power grids.

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Plasma Simulation of the Solar Wind and a Near-Earth Asteroid

Simulated interaction of the solar wind with a small irregularly shaped asteroid, about 150 meters long by 50 meters wide (roughly 164 yards by 55 yards). The deepest shades of red indicate strong and possibly hazardous electric fields.

Credit: NASA/M.I. Zimmerman/W.M. Farrell/A.R. Poppe

Source: NASA - Multimedia

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