The Miniature X-Ray Solar Spectrometer, or MinXSS, CubeSat dropped from an airlock on the International Space Station on Monday to keep an eye on “soft X-rays” emitted by the Sun. CubeSat uses a commercially purchased X-ray spectrometer for a detector and an extendable tape measure as a radio antenna.
Soft X-rays can wreak havoc with communication systems on Earth. As the X-ray waves travel through our upper atmosphere, they can disrupt radio and GPS signals transmitted through those regions.
Soft X-rays typically peak during solar flares when large eruptions on the Sun’s surface can send blasts of radiation our way. Soft x-rays also carry information about the temperature, density and chemistry of material in the Sun’s atmosphere.
This mission will last for up to 12 months and is funded by NASA. We can’t wait to see what they find!