Space portals: fact or fiction?
According to NASA, a researcher at the University of Iowa says portals, long a favorite of science fiction, actually are real.
Jack Scudder, a plasma physicist who made the portal discovery, explains:
"We call them X-points or electron diffusion regions. They're places where the magnetic field of Earth connects to the magnetic field of the Sun, creating an uninterrupted path leading from our own planet to the sun's atmosphere 93 million miles away."
Using observations from NASA's THEMIS space weather satellites and Europe's Cluster operations, Scudder concluded that these magnetic portals, located tens of thousands of kilometers from Earth, open and close at intervals. They provide a through-way for energy from the Sun to cause geomagnetic storms, heat the upper-atmosphere, and even cause dramatic light shows known as auroras.
NASA will launch a mission in 2014 to observe the portals. Watch the video from NASA for more of the science behind the science-fiction-gone-fact.
Just like "Star Trek," right?