If you know what the Internet is, you probably know what a big deal portals are, specifically the game franchise. You probably also know such technology is far off in the realm in science fiction. Except it’s not really.
A NASA funded researcher at the University of Iowa has figured out how to find portals- in the planet’s magnetic field. His name is Jack Scudder, and he calls them X points or electron diffusion regions. In his words, “They’re places where the magnetic field of Earth connects to the magnetic field of the sun, creating an uninterrupted path leading from out on planet to the sun’s atmosphere 93 million miles away.” In other words, they’re magnetic portals.
NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft has data suggesting these magnetic portals function dozens of times every day. Some of the portals are short lived and small, while others are large and last for long periods of time. NASA is planning a mission for 2014 to study this phenomenon- and in case you’re worried about the state of NASA given the end of shuttle launches, it’s worth knowing this data came to light only last month, so this project is still on course.
As for now, space enthusiasts should have their attention directed to the new Mars rover.