Now NASA's thinking with portals (video)

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Now NASA's thinking with portals (video)

Looks like playing games and watching sci-fi flicks didn't do the University of Iowa's Jack Scudder any harm. The NASA-funded researcher has been studying elusive magnetic portals connecting the Earth and Sun, and now he's figured out how to find them. The portals, also known as X-points in Scudder-speak, are born from the mingling of Earth's magnetic field with incoming solar winds. These astral connections create flux transfer events (we've got Doc Brown's attention) -- high-energy particle flows responsible for, among other things, the eerie twinkling of the polar auroras. Off the back of Scudder's data wizardry, NASA's planning the 2014 Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS), sending four craft into the void to observe the portals. Each spacebot is capable of locating them, and when one is found, inviting the others 'round for a study date. Taking a leaf from Scudder's book, Engadget researchers have tracked down a NASA video detailing the mission, located beyond the fold for your convenience.

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