The effects of human activity have long been cited as a primary cause of global climate change, but new research from NASA has revealed that our use of technology also appears to be having an impact not just on the planet, but on Earth’s near-space environment as well.
As the US space agency announced on Wednesday, the Van Allen space probes have detected a new, artificial bubble surrounding Earth that was the result of the interplay between very low frequency (VLF) radio communications and high-energy radiation particles.
In certain situations, these interactions can create a barrier surrounding the planet and protect it from solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other potentially dangerous space weather, NASA said. A paper detailing the discovery has been published by the journal Space Science Reviews.
“A number of experiments and observations have figured out that, under the right conditions, radio communications signals in the VLF frequency range can in fact affect the properties of the high-energy radiation environment around the Earth,” explained Phil Erickson, assistant director at the MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts.
NASA looking to use VLF waves to defend against space weather
As The Atlantic correctly pointed out, Earth already has its ...