50 years ago Explorer I became the first US satellite. As the General says, Wehrner Von Braun's Army team had promised they could launch a satellite within 90 days of a go-ahead. If the order had been given in time, the US would have been first in Space. After Sputnik the US first wasted time on the Vanguard satellite, which embarassingly blew up on the launch pad. Von Braun launched Explorer within 84 days of the order. Von Braun, Thomas Pickering, and James Van Allen truimphantly held up a model of Explorer.
Unlike Sputnik, which carried only a radio transmitter, Explorer I carried a scientific payload, a radiation detector. The Van Allen radiation belts were the first scientific discovery by a spacecraft. The belts are caused by cosmic rays encountering Earth's atmosphere. Protons in the 10-100 MeV range and higher become trapped by Earth's magnetic field. The belts reach their intensity by accumulating particles over years.
Like other planets such as Jupiter, Earth has a dipolar magnetic field. The "North" pole is where the positive or North end of a compass needle points. In fact Earth's North magnetic pole is the negative pole, and Earth's positive pole is in the South. (Confused yet?) Postive particles like protons are repelled by Earth's South Pole and are attracted by the North Pole. Lighter electrons travel from North Pole to South, creating an outer streams of particles.
The giant planet Saturn's magnetic poles nearly coincide with the geographic poles. The jets of charged particles exit and enter there, creating "hot spots" in the atmosphere. At Saturn's North Pole, the outgoing and ingoing streams crowd together. This crowding forces the field lines into a six-sided shape, the "Great Hexagon of Saturn."
Magnetic fields and polar jets of charged particles are telltale signs of a Black Hole. These would be tiny objects, relics of the Big Bang. Their continued presence would explain both Earth's core heat and magnetic field. The centres of Earth and Saturn would be excellent places to find them.