(ORDO NEWS) — The asteroid bounce experiment on December 27 will be a rehearsal for probing a larger asteroid that will come closer to Earth in 2029 than many geostationary satellites orbiting our planet.
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) at Gakon will transmit radio signals to the asteroid 2010 XC15, which may be about 152 meters in diameter.
The University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array (LWA) and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory’s Long Wavelength Array (OVRO-LWA) will receive the signal.
This will be the first time HAARP has been used to study an asteroid.
“What we’re trying to do is explore the insides of asteroids with longwave radars and radio telescopes from Earth,” said Mark Haynes, the project’s lead investigator. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate an object much better than the radio waves used for communication.”
Knowing about the interior of an asteroid, especially one large enough to wreak havoc on Earth, is important in determining how to defend against it.
There are many programs for quickly detecting asteroids, calculating their orbit and shape, as well as for obtaining images of the surface using optical telescopes and the planetary radar of the Deep Space Network.
Radar imaging programs use short wavelength signals that bounce off the surface and provide high quality exterior images but do not penetrate the inside of the object.
HAARP will transmit a signal to asteroid 2010 XC15 at frequencies slightly above and below 9.6 megahertz.
The signal will repeat at two second intervals. “Distance will be a challenge because the asteroid will be twice as far from Earth as the Moon,” Haynes said.
This experiment is another step towards the expected worldwide encounter with the asteroid Apophis in 2029. The asteroid was discovered in 2004 and will make its closest approach to Earth on April 13, 2029.
It will be at a distance of 32,000 kilometers, closer than the geostationary satellites that orbit the Earth.
Apophis, which NASA estimates is about 335 meters in diameter, was originally thought to pose a danger to Earth in 2068, but researchers have since better predicted its orbit.
The 2010 XC15 study and the 2029 Apophis approach are of common interest to scientists studying near-Earth objects. But planetary defense is also a key factor in research.
The December 27 test may reveal great potential for sensing asteroids using longwave radio signals.
Contact us: [email protected]