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Radars protect the Earth. They recognize and locate dangerous objects

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According to a group of scientists, ground-based planetary radar systems provide very good information about asteroids and comets that threaten the Earth. This is important because NASA tests have confirmed that we can change the trajectory of dangerous objects near our planet.

A ground-based planetary radar system is used by scientists to study the solar system in unprecedented detail. The equipment shows the surface shape and geological structure of planets and moons. The radar also captures the location, size and speed of potentially hazardous objects to Earth and spacecraft, such as comets or asteroids. Celestial bodies with a diameter of over 140 meters and located at a distance of less than 0.05 astronomical units (about 75 million kilometers) from our planet are considered “potentially dangerous” to Earth.

The creators of the “Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032” from the UN National Academies institute are convinced of the great importance of planetary radar systems for Earth’s security. This opinion is shared by scientists from the American National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Plans for the development of radar systems were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference held in February in Denver, Colorado (USA).

Ground-based radars protect the Earth

Threats from space For Earth and spacecraft, the planetary radar Goldstone Solar System Radar (GSSR) located in Barstow, California, currently looks out. The diameter of its bowl is 70 meters. In turn, the network of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) intends to use the new generation equipment – ngRADAR – installed at the Green Bank telescope in West Virginia for the same purpose. It is the world’s largest moving structure: it has a diameter of 100 meters and a mirror area of ​​7,854 square meters. Researchers also intend to include additional existing and planned telescopes in the network. – There are many applications for planetary radar. Thanks to it, we can expand our knowledge of the Solar System, plan future manned and unmanned space flights, as well as recognize and locate dangerous objects that are too close to the Earth – explained Dr. Tony Beasley, director of the NRAO, during the conference.

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– NRAO has a long history of using radar to understand the Universe. Recently, data from the Green Bank telescope were used for the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission – the first one carried out by NASA and a successful test to see if humans can change an asteroid’s trajectory, said Dr. Patrick Taylor, NRAO astrophysicist and ngRADAR project leader. The Green Bank Observatory houses the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. Its 100-meter moving dish allows you to observe 85 percent of the celestial sphere and track objects throughout the entire field of view. As Dr. Taylor explained, the ngRADAR pilot tests produced the highest resolution images of the lunar surface ever taken from Earth. – Let’s imagine what we could do with a more powerful transmitter – said the NRAO director. Physicist Marina Brozović from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Goldstone radar, added: “The public may be surprised to learn that the technology we use on the Goldstone radar has not changed much since World War II. In For 99 percent of observations, we transmit and receive signals from a single antenna. New radar transmitter designs, such as ngRADAR at the Green Bank Telescope, can significantly increase output power and bandwidth, enabling even higher resolution imaging. This will also allow for the creation of a more advanced system with increased data collection area.

Dangerous asteroids

According to researchers, the impact of an asteroid larger than a kilometer in diameter on Earth could cause a huge disaster. The dust thrown into the atmosphere would cause global darkness, a rapid cooling of the climate and a threat to life on our planet. Astronomers believe that on Valentine’s Day 2046, the recently discovered asteroid 2023 DW may collide with our planet. It has a diameter of 50 meters. The probability of this happening is 1:560.

Main photo source: stock.adobe.com



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