Missions into Space
by Wojciech Jacek Miloch (Associate Professor, Department of Physics, UiO).
ICI-3 rocket flying through the aurora.
Illustration: Trond Abrahamsen, Andøya Space Center
The space environment of the Earth and other planets is complex. It includes interaction between the solar wind plasma, ionospheres, interplanetary and planetary magnetic fields, radiation. A manifestation of this complexity is the coupling between the Sun and the Earth, which under certain conditions gives rise to magnetic storms and magnificent northern lights. The state of the Earth space environment, which is referred to as space weather, is of increasing importance for human activity, and space weather effects can influence the ground based infrastructures, radio communication, and accuracy of satellite based navigation systems. Both applied and basic research aspects of the space environment are of interest for the researchers at the Department of Physics. In this talk I will give present the context and status for current space missions in which our department is involved. These include sounding rockets and satellites for studies space weather problems and ionospheric plasmas at high latitudes. We are also involved in the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, which is culminating on Friday 30th of September by the spacecraft landing onto the comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.