Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

US satellite protection scheme could affect global communications

15.08.2006
A proposed US system to protect satellites from solar storms or high-altitude nuclear detonations could cause side-effects that lead to radio communication blackouts, according to new research. If activated, the "radiation belt remediation" (RBR) system could significantly alter the upper atmosphere, seriously disrupting high frequency (HF) radio wave transmissions and GPS navigation around the world.

The remediation system aims to protect hundreds of low earth-orbiting satellites from having their onboard electronics ruined by charged particles in unusually intense Van Allen radiation belts "pumped up" by high-altitude nuclear explosions or powerful solar storms.

The approach, which is being pursued by the US Air Force and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, involves the generation of very low frequency radio waves to flush particles from the radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere over one or several days.

The scientific team from New Zealand, UK and Finland calculate that Earth's upper atmosphere could be dramatically affected by such a system, causing unusually intense HF blackouts around most of the world.

Dr Mark Clilverd from British Antarctic Survey says, "Some planes and ships that rely on HF communications could lose radio contact, and some remote communities that also depend on HF could be isolated for as long as six to seven days, depending on the system's design and how it was operated. GPS signals between ground users and satellites would also be disrupted as they pass through the disturbed ionosphere."

The disruptions result from a deluge of dumped charged particles temporarily changing the ionosphere from a "mirror" that bounces high frequency radio waves around the planet to a "sponge " that soaks them up.

The research is published in the August edition of the international journal Annales Geophysicae. The researchers suggest that policymakers need to carefully consider the implications of remediation.

If the intense radiation belts resulted from a rogue state detonating a nuclear-tipped missile in the upper atmosphere, using such remediation technology would probably be acceptable to the international community, regardless of any side effects. However, using the system to mitigate the lesser risk to satellites from charged particles injected by naturally occurring solar storms should be considered more closely. The impact of the disruption to global communications needs to be weighed carefully against the potential gains.

Athena Dinar | alfa
Further information:
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?
28.02.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Many Android password managers unsafe
28.02.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells

01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water

01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth

01.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>