The North Pole is moving. Not the geographic axis around which Earth spins, of course, but rather its magnetic pole, the north end of which is slowly but steadily wandering across the Arctic Ocean toward Siberia. Scientists have known about our planet's shifting magnetic field for a long time, since at least 1904 - and today we now have a "Swarm" of satellites investigating its many inconsistencies from orbit.
NEWS: Satellite Swarm Maps Earth's Magnetic Field
Launched in November 2013, ESA's Swarm mission consists of three 9-meter satellites orbiting the planet at altitudes of 300-530 km (186-330 miles). Their goal is to monitor Earth's dynamic magnetic field, observing its changes over a period of four years.
The data gathered by the Swarm satellites will help scientists better understand how our magnetic field works, how it's influenced by solar activity, and why large parts of it are found to be weakening.
Because the magnetic field is our planet's first line of defense against radiation from both the sun and deep space, understanding what makes it tick is very important.