Auroras - Living with a Star
Premieres Tuesday February 11, 2003

Bringing space weather down to Earth, we see effects on systems familiar to young people and every citizen of advanced industrial societies. Images from Analytical Graphics Inc. and NASA show how changes in Earth's magnetosphere expose satellites to increased radiation, or cause them to de-orbit prematurely as Earth's atmosphere heats up and drag increases. Joe Benedetto of chip-maker Aeroflex, describes what it would take to make satellites more resistant to charged particles.

Joe Benedetto,
spacecraft systems engineer, Aeroflex

Michael Golightly,
NASA Johnson Space Center,
and the Space Radiation Group control room at JSC

But humans in space also need protection from space weather. NASA Johnson's Mike Golightly describes precautions taken to safeguard astronauts. Chang-Diaz and Ivins describe how they're prepared to respond to space weather alerts during every mission.

Not just astronauts need to think about space weather. In Europe, airline crews and pilots are classified as "radiation workers" and though passengers should not be especially concerned, some forward-thinking airlines and researchers have begun to fly monitoring equipment to see how civilian flights expose humans to varying levels of radiation.

Captain Bryn Jones,
Virgin Atlantic Airlines,
en route to Hong Kong

Andrew Coates and Bob Bentley,
Mullard Spcae Science Laboratory,
University College, London

From an Airbus cockpit, in flight, Virgin Airlines pilot Bryn Jones describes how space weather may affect navigation, communications and flight routes as well as crew and passengers. He shows us some of the experimental equipment being used, and at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the English countryside, his fellow researchers, Andrew Coates and Bob Bentley describe results to date.

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