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The study of plasma, a partially-ionized gas that is electrically conductive and able to be confined within a magnetic field, and how it releases energy.

An improvement to the global standard for modeling fusion plasmas

The gold standard for modeling the behavior of fusion plasmas may have just gotten better. Mario Podestà, a staff physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has updated the worldwide computer program known as TRANSP to better simulate the interaction between energetic particles and instabilities – disturbances in plasma that can halt fusion reactions.

PPPL data may play role in first NASA space probe dedicated to magnetic reconnection

 

At 10:44 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, NASA launched the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS), a set of four spacecraft that will study the magnetic fields surrounding Earth. Sent into space aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, the craft mark the first NASA mission dedicated to investigating magnetic reconnection, a mysterious phenomenon that gives rise to the northern lights, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service, black out power grids and damage orbiting satellites.

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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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