Ionospheric Heaters and Destroying the Van Allen Belts

ClimateViewer News

Hacking the Van Allen Belts

Could we save satellites and astronauts by wiping out the Van Allen belts?

By Charles Q. Choi Posted 26 Feb 2014 | 15:00 GMT

Electric Light Orchestrated? Alas, even if we took control of the Van Allen belts, it probably wouldn’t result in more auroras.

The radiation belts around Earth are loaded with dangerous protons and electrons that can damage spacecraft. Now researchers are launching experiments to see if they can clear away the high-energy particles that pose the hazard by blasting them with radio waves.

When humans began exploring space, the first major find was the Van Allen radiation belts, doughnut-shaped zones of magnetically trapped, highly energetic charged particles. The Van Allen belts consist mainly of two rings: The inner belt starts roughly 1000 kilometers above Earth’s surface and extends up to 9600 km, while the outer belt stretches from about 13 500 to 58…

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