The Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, is a low-Earth orbiting satellite that will give us new information about how Earth’s atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space — a give-and-take that plays a major role in the safety of our satellites and reliability of communications signals.
Specifically, ICON investigates the connections between the neutral atmosphere — which extends from here near the surface to far above us, at the edge of space — and the electrically charged part of the atmosphere, called the ionosphere. The particles of the ionosphere carry electrical charge that can disrupt communications signals, cause satellites in low-Earth orbit to become electrically charged, and, in extreme cases, cause power outages on the ground.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
- Mary P. Hrybyk-Keith (TRAX International)