Czech scientists have developed a small weather station for space. The gadget tracks streams of charged particles moving in space and the first is already in orbit.
Differently charged particles, which scientists call “space weather”, stream through space. They are described as “solar wind” or “electro-magnetic storms”. Most of them don’t reach Earth because it is protected by a magnetic “umbrella”. But on a spacecraft outside of the Earth’s magnetic field, the particles can do similar damage as lightning or hail on Earth and can be dangerous not only for astronauts, but also for the electronics on spaceships.
The “weather station”, or detector named Hardpix, is about the size of a tiny camera and fits in the palm of your hand. Milan Malich from the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics at the Czech Technical University explains:
“Our goal was to develop a device that would be as compact as possible. The current version weighs around 150 grams. Most of that weight is the protective aluminum box, the electron itself is very light. It’s basically like the camera in your mobile, but this is designed to detect particles.”
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Authors: Daniela Lazarová, Martin Srb, Source:ČRo