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US Air Force Plans To Set Off Plasma Bombs In The Sky For Better Radio Reception

The US Air Force is planning to set off plasma bombs in the sky. No, no, they are not militarizing space or something. If this plan by USAF is successful, it will enable radio signals to travel further in the atmosphere.

Northern Lights. Credits: DARPA

Radio operators would know that radio signals transmit better at night. During nighttime, they can travel hundreds of miles farther than during days and can be picked up by equipment far away. Why does that happen? It is all due to very small charged particles present in the ionosphere (layer above Earth’s atmosphere) known as – plasma. You know the green auroras or the Northern Lights? Yup, they are a phenomenon of ionosphere.

When we talk about radio signals on ground, they travel best when the recipient equipment is in the line of sight. Meaning it does not travel well over Earth curvature so mostly the signal only reaches 70 miles. But, if these radio waves can bounce off the ionosphere, they can travel greater distances. So, what USAF want is to introduce more plasma/ charged particles in the ionosphere via small CubeSats and the project is delegated to three firms already.

A cubesat. Credits:

However, there is only one glitch: we don’t know if we have to technology to generate enough plasma to power the satellites. One approach taken by a Pennsylvania firm is using chemical reactions to heat a metal beyond its boiling point so it vaporizes and create plasma upon reaction with atmosphere.

Whether this method will work or not, only time will tell. What do you think? Can this work? Let us know in comments!

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