Christopher Russell's discovery of zebra stripes in space resolves a half-century mystery

Posted on July 14, 2015

In the 1960s, NASA launched six satellites to study the Earth’s atmosphere, magnetosphere and the space between Earth and the moon. Using observations from those satellites, Christopher Russell, a UCLA graduate student at the time, detected mysterious plasma waves in the Van Allen radiation belts, the donut-shaped rings surrounding the Earth that contain high-energy particles trapped by the planet’s magnetic field.