ap7am logo
Logo Bar bseindia nse-india msn yahoo youtube facebook google thehindu bbc ndtv v6 ABN NTv Tv9 etv namasthetelangaana sakshi andhrajyothy eenadu ap7am bhakti espncricinfo wikipedia twitter

Space bubbles new frontier for future warfare

Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 12:37 PM
Washington, Sep 24 : Giant plasma bubbles - wispy clouds of electrically charged gas particles formed after dark in the upper atmosphere - hold the key for future warfare as they can bend and disperse radio waves, interfering with communications, a research indicates.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) have presented a new computer model that could help predict the impact of such bubbles on future military operations.

They provide evidence that plasma bubbles may have contributed to the communications outages during the battle between the US forces and militants at the snowcapped peak of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan in 2002.

In the atmosphere above Afghanistan, peak bubble season generally occurs during the spring.

Given the timing and location of the battle of Takur Ghar, the researchers thought these atmospheric anomalies could have been present.

To confirm their suspicions, Kelly's team looked at data from the Global Ultraviolet Imager (GUVI) instrument aboard NASA's Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission.

"The TIMED spacecraft flew over the battle field at about the right time," said lead researcher Michael Kelly.

Joseph Comberiate, a space physicist at APL, developed a technique to transform the 2D satellite images into 3D representations of plasma bubbles.

Using this technique, authors were able to show that on March 4, 2002 there was a plasma bubble directly between the ill-fated US Chinook helicopter and the communications satellite.

Just after daybreak, the Chinook crash-landed on the peak under heavy enemy fire and three men were killed in the ensuing fire-fight.

"The new model shows the electron-depleted regions of the atmosphere where radio wave interference, known as scintillation, is most likely to occur," Kelly said.

Plasma is pervasive in the upper atmosphere during daylight hours when the Sun's radiation rips electrons from atoms and molecules.

Sunlight keeps the plasma stable during the day, but at night, the charged particles re-combine to form electrically neutral atoms and molecules again.

Their work has been accepted for publication in a journal of the American Geophysical Union called Space Weather.
Agency: IANS

Feedback Form

Your IP address: