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.
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GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 220.127.116.11.0