Effects of the Solar Wind
Despite what the name suggests, space is all but empty. Between the planets, moons and asteroids, our solar system is filled with an ”exotic” state of matter called plasma. This state of matter exists on Earth in the form of lightning and neon lamps, but it is much more common outside the planet, making up 99% of the observable universe.
Our Sun is a burning plasma ball, continuously releasing pieces of itself into space in what scientists call the solar wind. This wind flows around the planets and interacts with them, influencing their evolution and environment. The same solar wind can damage our technology and cause significant risks to astronaut’s health.
As a space science PhD student at KTH, I study the interaction of the solar wind with planets of our solar system, resulting – among others – in the beautiful auroras, in an effort to better understand their magnetic environment and evolution.
This knowledge does not only further our understanding of our planet and solar system, but can help better protect us and our technology!
Maria Chloi Katrougkalou, KTH