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

HAARP's antenna array includes 180 antennas spread over 33 acres.

HAARP The facility’s array of antennas includes 180 antennas spread over 33 acres.
picture: HAARP

A group of researchers Try Radio signals are bounced off a 500-foot-wide asteroid during its flyby Land Tuesday.

The High Frequency Active Aurora Program (HAARP) aims to point its antennas At the asteroid 2010 XC15, a space rock is classified as a near-Earth’s asteroid is potentially dangerous. Effort is a test run to prepare for a larger body, known as Apophis, Which will have a close encounter with our planet in 2029.

“What’s new and what we’re trying to do is explore the interiors of asteroids using long-wave radars and radio telescopes from Earth,” said Mark Hynes, principal investigator on the project and a radar systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. a statment. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate the body much better than radio wavelengths used for communications.”

HAARP is a research facility in Gakona, Alaska (one of which was The subject of many conspiracy theories). It’s made up of 180 high-frequency antennas, each 72 feet tall and spanning 33 acres. the A facility that sends radio packets towards The ionosphere, the ionized part of the atmosphere Located About 50 to 400 miles (80 to 600 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. HAARP sends radio signals into the ionosphere and waits to see how they return, in an effort to measure disturbances caused by the sun, among other things.

Enterprise Launch a science campaign in October With 13 experiments, including one that involved bouncing signals from the Moon. At the time, HAARP researchers He is considering sending a radio signal to an asteroid to examine the interior of the rocky body.

During today’s experiment, T.JHAARP antennas in Alaska will send radio signals to the asteroid, And then the scientists Check If the reflected signals arrive in a Antenna arrays at the University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array and ca Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array.

HAARP will transmit a chirp signal continuously at just above and below 9.6MHz; The chirp will repeat every two seconds. At its closest approach on December 27, the asteroid will be about twice the distance from the Moon to Earth.

Tuesday’s experiment aims to prepare for an upcoming encounter with an asteroid in 2029. This potentially dangerous asteroid, officially known as 99942 Apophis, about 1210 ft (370 meters) widewill come inside 20,000 miles (32,000 km) from Earth on April 13, 2029. The NEO was thought to pose a slight hazard to Earth in the year 2068, but NASA ruled that out.

However, HAARP wants to examine the asteroid to prepare for potential hazards in the future space rocks. “The more time before a potential impact occurs, the more options there are to try to distract,” said Haynes.

In September, NASA’s DART spacecraft cmOscillating in a small file asteroid And succeeded in changing its orbit. Such a strategy can be single A way to transform space rocks that threaten Land.

Today Exam Shows the possibility of using long-wave radio signals for investigation inside asteroids. “If we can get the ground systems working, that will give us a lot of opportunities to try and do the internal sensing of these things,” Haynes said.

more: A powerful bounce effect has magnified NASA’s asteroid deflection experiment

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