Top Science of 2013
Space probes predict hazards to protect spacecraft
Researchers think they’ve solved a 50-year-old space mystery about how electrons within the Van Allen radiation belts that surround our planet can become energetic enough to cripple orbiting satellites.
With data collected by space-probe instruments, they discovered how electromagnetic radio waves cause electrons in these belts to greatly accelerate, phenomenon witnessed for the first time. Such results may help make space weather forecasting possible (and accurate).