The US space agency NASA has registered another Guinness World Record by fixing a GPS signal at the highest altitude under Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS). The satellite is orbiting at an altitude of 43,500 miles above the Earth’s surface and scientists at NASA have successfully fixed the GPS aboard MMS which is responsible for the accurate coordinates and tight flying formations of the satellite.
The four MMS spacecraft which move in highly elliptical orbit are known to break Guinness World Records. These spacecraft have achieved the closest flying separation of a multi-spacecraft formation with only four and a half miles between the four satellites last month. What’s striking is that the four spacecraft precisely maintained the distance moving at a speed of 22,000 miles per hour, which is also a world record. Previous, record was also held by the MMS when they achieved a closest flying separation of 6 miles back in October 2015.
The four MMS spacecraft fly in a pyramid shape, with one satellite marking each corner. This shape, called a tetrahedron, allows MMS to capture three-dimensional observations of magnetic reconnection – critical for fully understanding this process. Magnetic reconnection happens when magnetic fields pinch off and explosively reconfigure, sending particles zooming in all directions. It’s thought to happen throughout the universe and is one of the few ways that material is energized in space.
The American space agency developed MMS to get information on microphysics of magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration, and turbulence, processes that occur in many astrophysical plasmas.
MMS is helping scientists in developing a better understanding of Earth’s magnetosphere. According to researchers, the obtained data will help in unraveling several mysteries including auroras on Earth, regions near black holes and solar flares on surface of the Sun.
As per the schedule, MMS will enter Phase 2 of the mission where the four spacecraft will move into larger orbit to observe and collect data on different part of Earth’s magnetosphere. Moreover, moving up in the altitude will get MMS another Guinness World record.