BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- NASA is giving the University of Colorado about $36 million to build and operate an instrument to gather data about the disruptive effects of space weather.
The Daily Camera reports (http://bit.ly/124iK2L) the instrument will weigh about 60 pounds and will launch aboard a commercial communications satellite. The plan is part of a mission led by scientists at the University of Central Florida.
The instrument will orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth and is expected to have a direct impact on the understanding of space weather such as geomagnetic storms. Such storms alter the temperature and composition of Earth's atmosphere and can disrupt communication and navigation satellites, affecting everything from automobile GPS and cellphone coverage to television programming.