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July 26 2013

Probes confirm Earth acts like a giant particle accelerator


The narrative of the first few things put in orbit generally focuses on the space race between the US and Soviet Union. So it's often forgotten that some of the first objects put into space actually discovered something new: the Van Allen belts. These areas of high-energy particles are held in place by the Earth's magnetic fields, and they pose a radiation hazard to any people and equipment that orbit within them.

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