NASA Satellite Launches To Calculate Where The Air-Space Boundary Is

Yesterday, Thursday, October 10th, NASA launched a satellite with the mission to calculate where the boundary between the air and space is. The space probe, known as ICON (Ionospheric Connection Explorer), took off from Cape Canaveral.

The so-called ionosphere extends for hundreds of miles up into the Earth’s atmosphere. “This protected layer, it’s the top of our atmosphere. It’s our frontier with space,” explained Nicola Fox from NASA.

Fox added that the ionosphere stores a lot of energy since hurricanes, extreme weather, and climate change take place there. She stated that more missions should be made in the ionosphere to launch spaceships and astronauts in space.

NASA’s ICON satellite, as big as a fridge, will survey the airglow produced by the gases found at the ionosphere level. Besides, ICONa would also calculate the electrically-charged surroundings around future spaceships that would launch.

NASA Satellite Launches To Calculate Where The Air-Space Boundary Is

“It’s a remarkable physics laboratory. Icon goes where the action is,” explained Thomas Immel of the University of California, Berkeley.

NASA’s ICON satellite should have launched in 2017. But, due to some issues, NASA postponed the take-off to 2019. The project cost the US Space Agency about 250 million US Dollars.

“We wanted to get things right on this rocket. We have no second chances on these types of awesome and great one; this one’s been a long time in coming. This is about as good as it gets,” explained  NASA launch director Omar Baez.

According to scientists, NASA’s ICON is the ideal device to measure the air-space boundary. That would be useful for future space colonists. ICON would finally reveal where the ionosphere meets with the Earth’s atmosphere. Accordingly, future space missions could have some exact measurements to rely on in future missions. NASA’s ICON satellite is no larger than a fridge box, but it could reveal some unique information.