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• Launch date:  13 March 2015

• Agency: NASA

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The Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission studies the mystery of how magnetic fields around Earth connect and disconnect, explosively releasing energy via a process known a magnetic reconnection. MMS consists of four identical spacecraft that work together to provide the first three-dimensional view of this fundamental process, which occurs throughout the universe.

The mission observes reconnection directly in Earth’s protective magnetic space environment, the magnetosphere. By studying reconnection in this local, natural laboratory, MMS helps us understand reconnection elsewhere as well, such as in the atmosphere of the sun and other stars, in the vicinity of black holes and neutron stars, and at the boundary between our solar system’s heliosphere and interstellar space.