Published: March 10, 2015

NASA MMS GraphicCongratulations to the NASA MMS Team, led by CU Physics Professor Marty Goldman who launched the NASA Magnetosphere Multiscale Mission (MMS). The Mission launched from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas V rocket on Thursday, March 12.

The MMS Mission will study explosive events in two regions of Earth’s magnetosphere.  One is on the day side (“magnetopause") — where solar magnetic field lines run counter to Earth’s compressed dipole magnetic field lines.  The other is on the night side (the highly elongated “magnetotail”) where neighboring field lines oppose each other.  Opposing magnetic fields can “reconnect,” snapping back over huge distances (many Earth radii), while releasing  stored magnetic energy.  This “Magnetic Reconnection” energizes particles and produces radiation which can interfere with communications and power grids and endanger spacecraft and aircraft.

For the past seven years Professor Goldman has been Principal Investigator on a 3.3M$ NASA grant providing theory and simulation support for the MMS mission.  He and his IDS team ( have studied particle heating and motion, nonlinear waves, and energy transport during  magnetotail and solar wind reconnection.  Goldman’s team consists of simulation and theory experts, Dr. David Newman (Physics) and Prof. Giovanni Lapenta (consultant) as well as LASP observational scientists Dr. Stefan Eriksson, Dr. Laila Andersson and Dr. Jack Gosling.

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