Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Probing impact of solar unrest on telecom

A article by Steve Johnson (Mercury News), via Yahoo! News, reports:

A Menlo Park research institute has built two prototypes of a unique radar system for studying the solar disturbances that can disrupt cell phones, satellite communications and other electronic gear used increasingly by businesses.

The non-profit SRI International said Tuesday that it finished a small prototype of the radar system in Gakona, Alaska, last month. The other, in Jicamarca, Peru, was installed in December. Full-size versions will follow next year.

Financed by a $44 million National Science Foundation grant, the project -- officially known as the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar -- is billed as a highly portable and effective system for studying the upper atmosphere's weather.

That is a crucial area of research, experts say, because of the increasing reliance by businesses and others on the types of technology that can go haywire during disruptions of the upper atmosphere caused by solar winds and other phenomena.


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