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Earth does have a layer of rapidly moving charged particles known as the Van Allen belt, which is trapped by Earth's magnetic field in a doughnut-shaped region surrounding the equator.
THE ENVIRONMENT OF SPACE
The spacecraft had the specific task of mapping the Van Alen radiation belts at higher inclinations than that achieved by US satellites of the time (60 degrees vs 30 degrees latitude).
He had predicted that military
>significant effects would be produced by injecting
> charged particles from nuclear explosions into near space to create artificial
>Van Allen belts.
Nukes and the Van Allen belts
US Military planed to create a "telecommunications shield" in the ionosphere, reported in 13-20 August 1961, Keesings Historisch Archief (K.H.A.). This shield would be created "in the ionosphere at 3,000 km height, by bringing into orbit 350,000 million copper needles, each 2-4 cm long (total weight 16 kg), forming a belt 10 km thick and 40 km wide, the needles spaced about 100 m apart." This was designed to replace the ionosphere "because telecommunications are impaired by magnetic storms and solar flares". The US planned to add to the number of copper needles if the experiment proved to be successful. This plan was strongly opposed by the International Union of Astronomers.
"Starfish made a much wider belt (than Project Argus) that extends from low altitude out past L=3 (i.e. three earth radiuses or about 13,000 km above the surface of the earth)" Later in 1962, the USSR undertook similar planetary experiments, creating three new radiation belts between 7,000 and 13,000 km above the earth. According to the Encyclopaedia, the electron fluxes in the lower Van Allen Belt have changed markedly since the 1962 high-altitude nuclear explosions by the US and USSR, never returning to their former state. According to American scientists, it could take many hundreds of years for the Van Allen Belts to restabilise at their normal levels.
Originally posted by D4rk Kn1ght
if there ever was a need to stop space tests and weaponisation, this stupidity is it.
Abstract : The discussion of satellite charge-up is extended to include the case of satellites in the outer Van Allen belt. Due to the presence of the high energy Van Allen electrons, the electrostatic potentials acquired by satellites in the Van Allen region may be much larger than for the case of ionospheric satellites.
SATELLITE CHARGE-UP IN THE OUTER VAN ALLEN BELT
In particular, it now appears likely that instability, and the resulting quasi-linear pitch angle scattering, in the so-called whistler and ion cyclotron modes, limits the fluxes of energetic electrons and ions, respectively, that can be stably trapped in the Van Allen belts, where the Earth's magnetic lines have a dipole mirror configuration. Factors which affect the stability of such waves propagating obliquely to the local magnetic field direction, the velocity space diffusion resulting from their nonlinear growth, and observations relating to the Van Allen belt turbulence are discussed semi-quantitatively.
VAN ALLEN BELT PLASMA PHYSICS
Five spacecraft located 100 to 1000 kilometers around the Starfish nuclear burst measured the expansion and collapse of the plasma bubble produced in the geomagnetic field and early time injection into the inner Van Allen radiation belt. The bubble evolved into an elongated shape 2400 km along the magnetic field lines and 700 km across in 1.2 seconds and required approximately 15 seconds to collapse. After the magnetic bubble reached its maximum size instabilities and fluting permitted the beta emitting fission fragments to continue to expand. This process injected a flux measuring 2.5x1010 beta/cm2sec into the most intense region of the artificial belt mapped by the Injun I spacecraft 10 hours later.
Van Allen radiation belt
The requirement for satellites in magic orbits to regularly traverse the inner Van Allen belt will call for some mitigating engineering design to ensure that the one-year goal lifetime can be met.
The Myth of the Tactical Satellite
Removing the belts
The belts are a hazard for artificial satellites and moderately dangerous for human beings and difficult and expensive to shield against.
There is a proposal by the late Robert L. Forward called HiVolt which may be a way to drain at least the inner belt to 1% of its natural level within a year. The proposal involves deploying highly electrically charged tethers in orbit. The idea is that the electrons would be deflected by the large electrostatic fields and intersect the atmosphere and harmlessly dissipate.
Some scientists, however, theorize that the Van Allen belts carry some additional protection against solar wind, which means that a weakening of the belts could harm electronics and organisms, and that they may influence the Earth's telluric current, dissipating the belts could influence the behaviour of Earth's magnetic poles.
Starfish Prime was a high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States of America on July 9, 1962, a joint-effort of the Defense Atomic Support Agency (DASA) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Launched via a Thor rocket and carrying a W49 thermonuclear warhead (manufactured by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory) and a Mk4 reentry vehicle, the explosion took place 400 kilometers (250 miles) above Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was part of Operation Dominic.
Originally posted by ADVISOR
But as asked, how, well also obviously with nuclear detonations. How else.
System tests would employ extremely high-intensity, very low frequency (VLF) radio waves to “flush” particles from radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere.
While some of the energetic beta particles had followed of the earth's magnetic field and illuminated the sky, other high-energy electrons became trapped in man-made radiation belts around the earth.
In 1963, Brown et al. reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research that Starfish Prime had created a belt of MeV electrons, and Bill Hess reported in 1968 that some Starfish electrons remained for five years. Others reported that radioactive particles from Starfish Prime descended to earth seasonally and accumulated in terrestrial organisms such as fungi and lichens.
These man-made radiation belts eventually crippled one-third of all satellites in low orbit. Seven satellites were destroyed as radiation knocked out their solar arrays or electronics, including the first commercial communication satellite ever, Telstar.
Cook says he shared with Rodger speculation by QST Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, to the effect that “the sheer energy needed to accomplish [RBR] would tend to rule it out from the start, and I don’t know where they would erect the necessary antennas.”
Responded Rodger: “This would be true, but they are hoping to rely on some of the non-linear processes in space plasmas, stealing the energy from the radiation belts to get the wave amplitudes high enough. We know this is possible - in theory - as it happens naturally already. We don’t know how easy it will be to get it happening under our control.”