Science Goals

MMS Payload

MMS Quick Facts
 • Launched 3/12/2015
 • Solving Magnetospheric
    Reconnection, and
    Turbulence (SMART)
    is the MMS Science
 • Southwest Research
    Institute (SWRI)
    is leading the
    science investigation.
    The team...
 • Mission duration:
    2yrs. 6mos.
 • Four spacecraft will fly
    in tetrahedral formation
    through regions of
    the magnetosphere,
    each collecting data
    with identical suites
    of instrumentation.

Related Links
   - NASA MMS status report   
   - MMS at SWRI (SMART lead)
   - MMS at Rice (Education)
   - MMS at LASP (Sys.Ops.)

nasa logo

IS David Rau
David Rau (UNH), third from left with GSFC and SwRI colleagues after the final removal of the red tag covers from the stack of MMS observatories in Feb. 2015.

mms faring
Fairing with MMS logo

FIELDS progress report (Word file 7/15)...

FIELDS project log...

MMS successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center
on March 12, 2015.


About the Magnetospheric
Multiscale Mission

MAGNETIC RECONNECTION is a little-understood physical process at the heart of space weather. It can spark solar flares, cause coronal mass ejections and other phenomena that can imperil Earth-orbiting spacecraft and disrupt power grids on Earth.

Much of what we know about the physics of Magnetic Reconnection comes from theoretical studies and computer models. MMS will study this process in situ, measuring magnetic fields crossing, reconnecting, and releasing magnetic energy in the form of heat and charged-particle kinetic energy.

The breaking and reconnection of the magnetic field lines takes place in a narrow boundary layer called the diffusion region.

Science Goals

The overarching goal of the MMS mission is to measure the plasma and the electric and magnetic fields inside the diffusion regions in Earth's magnetosphere in order to answer the following fundamental questions:

The plasma and fields instruments will measure ion and electron distributions and the electric and magnetic fields with unprecedented high (millisecond) time resolution and accuracy. These measurements will enable MMS to locate and identify small (10's of km) and rapidly moving (10-100 km/s) diffusion regions, to determine their size/structure, and to discover mechanism(s) by which plasma and magnetic fields decouple, reconfiguring the magnetic field.

  The four MMS spacecraft will be in a stacked configuration on a single launch vehicle.

MMS SMART Investigation team...

MMS Science Payload...

MMS-FIELDS Instrument Suite...