An Asteroid Passes Earth Today, So Scientists Shoot It With Radio Waves

An Asteroid Passes Earth Today, So Scientists Shoot It With Radio Waves
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The antenna array of the HAARP facility includes 180 antennas spread over 33 acres.

HAARP the facility’s array of antennas includes 180 antennas spread over 33 hectares.
Image: HAARP

A group of researchers trying to do A 500-foot-wide asteroid bounces off radio signals during its close flyby Place Tuesday.

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) aims its antennas In asteroid 2010 XC15, it is classified as a space rock near-Earth’s potentially dangerous asteroid. It is a trial run to prepare for a larger object known as an effort Apophis, It 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 the asteroid with long-wavelength radars and ground-based radio telescopes,” said Mark Haynes, lead researcher on the project and a radar systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. a statement. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate an object better than radio wavelengths used for communication.”

HAARP is a research facility located in Gakona, Alaska (the other the subject of many conspiracy theories). It consists of 180 high-frequency antennas, each 72 feet tall and spanning 33 acres. The the object transmits radio rays in its direction The ionosphere is the ionized part of the atmosphere is 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 to measure the perturbations caused by the Sun, among other things.

Object started the science campaign in October With 13 experiments, including one with signals bouncing off the moon. At that time, it was HAARP researchers is considering sending a radio signal to an asteroid to probe inside the rocky body.

During today’s experiment tHAARP antennas in Alaska will transmit radio signals to the asteroid, and then there will be scientists check it out if reflected signals arrive hour Long Wavelength Array Antenna Arrays at the University of New Mexico and California Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array.

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

Tuesday’s experiment is to prepare for an upcoming encounter with an asteroid in 2029. Officially, this is a potentially dangerous asteroid 99942 Apophis, is about 1210 feet (370 meters) wideand will come inside 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers). Earth on April 13, 2029. A near-Earth object was thought to pose little risk to Earth in 2068, but NASA ruled it out.

However, HAARP wants to study 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 deflect it,” Haynes said.

NASA’s DART spacecraft in September cmis considered small asteroid and successfully changed its orbit. Such a strategy can be one way to entertain a menacing space rock Place.

Today’s test shows the potential of using long-wavelength radio signals for the probe inner parts of asteroids. “If we can get the ground systems up and running, it will give us many chances to try to study the interior of these objects,” Haynes said.

More: NASA’s Asteroid Deflection Experiment

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