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 Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan
26.09.2017 | University at Buffalo

nachricht Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

The material that obscures supermassive black holes

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Ageless ears? Elderly barn owls do not become hard of hearing

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>