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NASA's CURIE mission to explore solar radio waves




NASA's CubeSat Radio Interferometry Experiment (CURIE) is set to launch on Tuesday to explore the origins of radio waves from the sun, one of the key drivers of space weather.

CURIE will lift off aboard an Ariane 6 rocket of the European Space Agency (ESA) from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, and fly at an altitude of 360 miles (about 580 kilometers) above the Earth's surface.

By using radio interferometry, the mission aims to study radio burst emissions from solar eruptions, such as flares and coronal mass ejections in the inner heliosphere. These events drive space weather in increasing auroral activity and geomagnetic effects on Earth.

Designed by a team from the University of California, Berkeley, CURIE will be the first mission of its kind to measure radio waves in the 0.1-19 MHz frequency range from space, according to the ESA.

These wavelengths are blocked by Earth's upper atmosphere, so this kind of research can only be done from space.

According to NASA, during the solar radio wave research, CURIE will use a technique called low frequency radio interferometry, which has never been used in space before.

"This technique relies on CURIE's two independent spacecraft – together no bigger than a shoebox – that will orbit Earth about two miles apart," NASA said.

This separation allows CURIE's instruments to measure tiny differences in the arrival time of radio waves, which enables them to determine exactly where the radio waves came from.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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