ICON (Ionospheric Connection Explorer)


NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above.

ICON will:
--Explore the variability in our near-Earth space environment.
--Help understand the influence of terrestrial weather on near-Earth space.
--Improve understanding of space weather that can affect our technology, life, and society.

Launch: October 2019


Documents and PowerPoints
ICON powerpoint.pptx
ICON Fast Facts.pdf

Related MGGP Links

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ICON Mission -
ICON Spacecraft and Instruments -
Ionosphere Science -

UC Berkeley
ICON Mission -

ICON Mission -

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iconairglownight.png ICON mission, depicted in this artist's concept, will study the ionosphere from a height of about 350 miles to understand how the combined effects of terrestrial weather and space weather influence this ionized layer of particles.

stopgapblobsv2-01.png Around Earth's equator, bright swaths of color known as airglow, can appear hovering at about 50 to 300 miles above the surface of Earth. These are the result of a complex interaction between Earth's magnetic field lines - shown in this illustration as white lines connecting the North and South poles - and terrestrial weather.

ionospherev8-02.pngICON mission will orbit above the upper atmosphere, through the bottom edge of near-Earth space.

GOLD_ICON-scan.jpg The orbits and scanning profiles for ICON (in low-Earth orbit) and GOLD (in geostationary orbit). Here, the colors over Earth represent model data of the density of a single ionized oxygen atom at an altitude of 350 kilometers. Red represents high density.


Click on image/link for larger view

ICON-video tn.png ICON orbits above the upper atmosphere of earth, observing both the upper atmosphere and a layer of charged particles called the ionosphere, which extends from about 50 to 360 miles above the surface of Earth.
(YouTube, 00:02:00)

EarthAtmosphere-video tn.png Time-lapse view of Earth's Limb from ISS. ICON observes how interactions between terrestrial weather and a layer of charged particles called the ionosphere create the colorful glow.
(YouTube, 00:00:39)


SS-simulator.jpg Solar System Simulator - JPL

logo-eotss-main.png Eyes on the Universe - JPL


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