NASA is preparing to launch a rocket this week to help better understand how the sun can wreak havoc on everything from cell phones to our health.
Originally planned for Thursday, United Launch Alliance announced a 24-hour delay due to a problem found during testing of another Atlas vehicle in Alabama that scientists want to make sure isn't present in the launch vehicle.
The launch window is now scheduled to begin at 4:07 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24.
At 93 million miles away, the sun’s powerful rays can still cause damage, from cancer to communication failure.
That includes disruptions to cell phone service.
“It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you go to dial back and it says network busy or network problems, especially if it’s something important, like did you feed the dog?” said Mark Campbell of Palm Bay.
Scientists said solar storms can throw off cell phone satellites orbiting Earth.
Cell phones, GPS services and power grids can all be disrupted by a burst of energy from the sun, which is why NASA will launch the Radiation Belt Storm Probes.
“Cell phones, your signal back to the station, it can make it a really bad day if we get a huge burst of energy from the sun, so this is hopefully going to help understand that a little bit better,” said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden.
NASA will send two spacecraft into Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts Thursday atop an Atlas V rocket.
Not a lot is known about how the radiation belts respond to solar storms.
However, we do know the belts can expand, becoming a risk to satellites and even astronauts onboard the International Space Station.
It’s hoped this mission will help scientists be able to predict space weather and the effects these radiation belts have on our everyday lives.
“It’s going to help us understand solar winds, how radiation from the sun affects our own earth and how the radiation belts change overtime,” said Bolden.
The Atlas V rocket and spacecrafts will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41.