The main goal of the TFS funded project is to develop novel radar measurement techniques, which will allow us to fully utilize the new capabilities offered by the next generation EISCAT 3D radar . The construction phase for this next generation space research radar has already begun, and the core site will be constructed in the village of Skibotn in Northern Norway. EISCAT 3D will be the first high power large aperture radar with all-digital signal processing, and receivers located in multiple geographically separated locations. It is capable of measuring three-dimensional vector velocities, transmitting and receiving arbitrarily polarized radar transmissions, and performing high resolution interferometric imaging of targets with techniques adopted from radio astronomy. These are all features that have not been available with previous space research radars and will open up new opportunities for scientific discovery.
In the context of this project, these new capabilities will enable us to:
1) observe detailed trajectories of micrometeoroids and to help constrain the amount of meteoric matter entering Earth’s atmosphere;
2) measure the precise locations of centimeter sized space debris orbiting Earth, allow us to study this environmental catastrophy unfolding in space, and hopefully allow us to mitigate the risk of collision of debris with orbiting spacecraft;
3) observe the subsurface composition of the Moon to study the geological past of the Moon-Earth system; and
4) to allow us to study how the energetic particle precipitation during aurora (northern lights) at high latitudes affects the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
You can follow the activities of our group on our informal web site: http://www.radio-science. net, which contains updates on our scientific activities, as well as public outreach material about space physics.