Hacking the Van Allen Radiation Belts
is scary. Believe it or not, there is a group of scientists who think
it might be a good idea to beam very low frequency (VLF) radiation into
the upper atmosphere to erase the
Van Allen radiation belts. I kid you not. An article in the March
2014 edition of IEEE's
Spectrum magazine describes a plan to clear out the proton
cloud residing in the inner belt (1,000 - 9,600 km altitude) and the
electron cloud hovering in the outer belt (13,500 - 58,000 km altitude).
Both Van Allen radiation belts, particularly the outer ring, are hazardous
to electronics, i.e., satellites, because of the circuit-frying potential
due to a build-up of electric charges that can, under certain conditions,
penetrate an imperfect Faraday shield.
Telstar I succumbed to the mechanism thanks to increased activity
from a high-altitude nuclear explosion experiment a day before the Telstar
launch. According to one scientist's calculations, "you'd need a million,
15-meter antennas operating for a few years" to disperse the belts.
I shudder to think about the possibility that all it
take to get funding for such a lunatic proposal would be to somehow
convince politicians that doing so would reverse global warming - or
that doing so would add to their current extreme wealth. If this was
the April issue, I'd think they were attempting to fool me.
I recently posted a few articles reporting on the
International Geophysical Year (IGY) activities in the late 1950s,
during which time
James Van Allen first discovered the radiation belts.
a great tag line on the website for this story: "Electric Light Orchestrated?"
Posted March 5, 2014