An asteroid is passing Earth today, so scientists are blasting it with radio waves

An asteroid is passing Earth today, so scientists are blasting it with radio waves

The antenna array of the HAARP facility includes 180 antennas spread over 33 acres.

The HAARP The facility’s antenna array includes 180 antennas spread over 33 acres.
photo: HAARP

A group of researchers is trying bounce radio signals off a 500-foot-wide asteroid during its close flyby land on Tuesday.

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is pointing its antennae in asteroid 2010 XC15, a space rock that is classified as a nearAsteroid potentially dangerous to Earth. The effort is a test to prepare for a larger object, known as Apophis, that will have a close encounter with our planet in 2029.

“What’s new and what we’re trying to do is probe the interior of asteroids with long-wavelength radars and radio telescopes from the ground,” said Mark Haynes, the project’s principal investigator and a radar systems engineer at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, aa statement. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate the interior of an object much better than the radio wavelengths used for communication.”

HAARP is a research center in Gakona, Alaska (one that has been the subject of many conspiracy theories). It consists of 180 high-frequency antennas, each 72 feet tall and spread over 33 acres. The installation transmits radio beams towards the ionosphere, the ionized part of the atmosphere located about 50 to 400 miles (80 to 600 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. HAARP sends radio signals into the ionosphere and waits to see how they come back, in an effort to measure disturbances from the Sun, among other things.

The installation launched a scientific campaign in October with 13 experiments, including one involving bouncing signals off the Moon. At the time, the HAARP researchers were considering sending a radio signal to an asteroid to probe the interior of the rocky body.

During today’s experiment, tHAARP antennas in Alaska will transmit radio signals to the asteroid, and then the scientists will to check if the reflected signals arrive at antenna arrays from the University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array and that of California Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array.

HAARP will transmit a hissing signal continuously at just above and below 9.6 megahertz; the whistle will repeat at two second intervals. At its closest approach on December 27, the asteroid will be twice as far as the Moon from Earth.

Tuesday’s experiment is to prepare for an upcoming encounter with an asteroid in 2029. This potentially dangerous asteroid, formally known as 99942 Apophis, is about 1,210 feet (370 meters) wideand it will reach inside 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of Earth on April 13, 2029. The near-Earth object was thought to pose a slight risk to Earth in 2068, but NASA dismissed it.

Still, HAARP wants to probe the asteroid to prepare for potential risks in the future space rocks “The more time there is before a potential impact, the more options there are to try to deflect it,” Haynes said.

In September, NASA’s DART spacecraft smturned into a small asteroid and successfully altered its orbit. Such a strategy could be one way to deflect a threatening space rock land

Today’s proof shows the potential of using long-wavelength radio signals for probing the interior of asteroids. “If we can get the ground systems up and running, that will give us a lot of opportunities to try to do indoor detection of these objects,” Haynes said.

Month: A powerful recoil effect boosted NASA’s asteroid deflection experiment

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