We May Have Accidentally Created A Shield Around Earth That Protects Us From Solar Radiation
GWYN D’Mello 22 MAI 2017
When underwater submarines are sent on a mission, the main form that communicates with the headquarters by radio waves at very low frequency (VLF). Long wavelengths, these signals are emitted from the towers on the ground and depend on their ability to travel better through salt water. Now, a new study indicates that these VLFs may have had another unwanted side effect on Earth.
In a relationship derived from data collected by Van Allen probes, two spacecraft in 2012 to monitor the radiation belts around the earth, the use of VLF signals over the years has formed as a kind of bubble Protective around the planet. These radio signals have a tendency to escape into space, in which the charged particles that bombard us sides of the sun are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field.
Charged particles from the sun trapped in our magnetic field can damage the electronic components of a satellite, a major concern because those radiation belts tend to move with Earth. “The conventional wisdom is that the inner edge of the belt moves outside in the atmosphere – especially the ionosphere and plasmasphere – growing and contracting,” said Phil Ierickson, a space physicist at MIT, Popular Science. However, data obtained from Van Allen probes show that VLF radio waves can also help identify the location of these belts, while protecting us against harmful particles.
An important finding was that during a major solar storm in 2015, the Earth plasmasphere was pushed back to the planet. However, with VLF waves, the radiation belt does not intrude into the empty space. Erickson and his colleagues also noticed something else; “The board where for this very powerful radio signal is the same place where the electrons stop coming in.”
The study is also based on 1960 data, indicating that the inner boundary of the radiation belt was much closer to Earth than it is today. This is the time when the transmission of VLF began to be more widely used. This suggests that when electrons come out of the sun today, the VLF waves remove, pushing them into the atmosphere in which they dissipate.
“This suggests that if the satellite is closer to 2.8 terrestrial radios (about 24,000 kilometers), you may not need to worry about it as much as we thought,” says Erickson.
At the end of this year, the Air Force plans to launch a new satellite that will further test the protection capability of VLF waves. If successful, this means that we can actively exploit these waves to protect against the negative effects of solar flares, a rare but serious threat of electronics is an essential part of our lifestyle.