Friday, July 18, 2014

Magnetic field reversal and 'Innovation the NASA Way'

Looking through my archives, I found that I didn't post all the space news from the past two weeks in Orbiting Carbon Observatory launches and space news video extravaganza and Supermoon and other space and astronomy news.  I missed one story each week that should have appeared in those two compendiums.  Without any further ado, here they are.

First, Kelly Dickerson of LiveScience reported Earth's Magnetic Field Is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now.
Earth's magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm.

The biggest weak spots in the magnetic field — which extends 370,000 miles (600,000 kilometers) above the planet's surface — have sprung up over the Western Hemisphere, while the field has strengthened over areas like the southern Indian Ocean, according to the magnetometers onboard the Swarm satellites — three separate satellites floating in tandem.

The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth's magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA's Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia.
This ties back into Discovery News on the sun flipping, in which I pointed out that "increased sunspot activity...would make for more solar storms.  That wouldn't be good for Earth, especially if they happen when the Earth's field is also reversing.  Such a combination might fry our electric grid."  This news indicates a reversal of Earth's magnetic field is becoming more likely.

Next, via LiveScience describes 'Innovation the NASA Way' (US 2014): Book Excerpt.
NASA's approach to leadership has inspired the public for decades, achieving results and overcoming obstacles that so often seemed impossible. Rod Pyle has provided leadership training to top executives at the agency and learned first-hand the situations that have guided the space agency at its most critical moments. With his latest book, he shares what he has learned and offers insight into both the inner workings of NASA and leadership lessons that span disciplines.

Below is an excerpt from his book, the first chapter of  "Innovation the NASA Way: Harnessing the Power of Your Organization for Breakthrough Success" — problem-solving anecdotes and lessons from the Mars Curiosity mission.
Read the excerpt; it's cool.

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