Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake on the coast of Balochistan Province, Pakistan.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake at a depth of 25.9 km, roughly 20 km to the southwest of the city of Pasni in Balochistan Province, Pakistan, slightly after 3.00 am local time on Tuesday 7 February 2017 (slightly after 10.00 pm on Monday 8 February GMT). An event of this size is potentially very dangerous, and there were initial concerns that this event might lead to a large number of casualties, however there have only been reports of minor damage in this instance.
Damage in Pasni, Balochistan, following the 7 February 2017 Earthquake. AFP.

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MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale)

On Feb. 9, 2017, NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, known as MMS, began a three-month long journey into a new orbit. MMS flies in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth and the new orbit will take MMS twice as far out as it has previously flown. In the new orbit, which begins the second phase of its mission, MMS will continue to map out the fundamental characteristics of space around Earth, helping us understand this key region through which our satellites and astronauts travel. MMS will fly directly through regions – where giant explosions called magnetic reconnection occur – never before observed in high resolution.

Launched in March 2015, MMS uses four identical spacecraft to map magnetic reconnection – a process that occurs when magnetic fields collide and re-align explosively into new positions. NASA scientists and engineers fly MMS in an unprecedentedly close formation that allows the mission to travel through regions where the sun’s magnetic fields interact with Earth’s magnetic fields – but keeping four spacecraft in formation is far from easy.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Tom Bridgman, visualizer

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