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Current Events / Science PopWrapped | Current Events

NASA Discovers Man-Made Bubble Around Earth

Olivia Kingery | PopWrapped Author

Olivia Kingery

05/20/2017 4:11 pm
PopWrapped | Current Events
NASA Discovers Man-Made Bubble Around Earth | man-made bubble
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There is no denying the effect humans have made on the Earth and while most of the impact has been negative, we finally may have done our home planet some good. Even though it was unintentional, NASA has discovered a man-made bubble around Earth.

They shared the news in the Space Science Reviews. The bubble was discovered by a robotic mission that NASA launched back in 2012. Although you cannot see the radio waves or the high-energy radiation, the bubble is actually visible from space crafts. Back in 1963, the US Military tried to create a bubble of their own with a porject called Project West Ford. They sent whisker-thin copper wires into orbit to try and form a ring around the Earth. This, of course, did not work but they finally got their bubble with a little help from the universe. 

Radio communications from the ground interact with particles in space creating the bubble. The particles are high-energy radiation and help form a protective barrier around Earth. But it does not have to do with what the bubble holds in, rather what it keeps out. The protective barrier helps shield the planet from space weather that can be extremely dangerous. This weather includes solar flares and other activity from the sun. Solar flares are huge amounts of energy but the activity includes coronal mass ejections which discharge hot material called plasma. When these events happen, radiation particles enter Earth’s atmosphere and can not only disrupt radio waves but overload power grids.

The radio waves creating the bubble are used to communicate with submarines that reside near the surface of the ocean. The waves are very low frequency, VLF, and are projected off the ground. However, some waves stretch all the way into the atmosphere where they have begun an unexpected dance with the radiation. 


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