NASA Probes Hole in Atmosphere Above North Pole; Can This Affect GPS, Radio Signals on Earth?

NASA Probes Hole in  Atmosphere Above North Pole; Can This Affect  GPS, Radio Signals on Earth?
NASA has observed a hole in atmosphere that’s located in the North Pole which affects the GPS and radio transmissions. NASA is currently investigating the reason cause. Photo : Olivier Morin/ Getty Images

NASA has observed a hole in the atmosphere above the North Pole.

However, weirdly enough, the hole only opens once a day, at 12 p.m. It's unclear how long it'll last or why it appears, but the hole is causing havoc with GPS and radio transmissions in the vicinity.

Hole in Atmosphere

An unusual abnormality has been discovered in the earth's atmosphere. A "funnel-shaped gap" in the Earth's magnetic field, located 250 miles north of the North Pole, emerges only once per day.

This can only be seen at noon, whenever the Sun is at its greatest position in the sky, local time.

While the magnetic field around the North Pole prevents particles from the Sun from reaching Earth, this newly discovered gap could pose a problem for satellites and spacecraft.

It is also interfering with radio and GPS signals in the area, according to NASA scientists who discovered it. Strangely, any planes going through the area appear to slow down as the space opens up.

NASA has stated that it is striving to determine why space appears but has so far been unsuccessful. A sounding rocket will be launched into the air from Norway as part of the test.

As reported by Daily Star, Mark Conder, the principal investigator, and physicist stated that: "At around 250 miles above Earth, spacecraft feel more drag, sort of like they've hit a speed bump. You can't just increase the mass in a region by a factor of 1.5 and do nothing else, or the sky will fall."

Possible Causes of Hole in Atmosphere

Electric and magnetic effects in the ionosphere, the layer of Earth's upper atmosphere that is ionized by the Sun and hence contains electrically charged particles, are one possibility. The denser air may be supported indirectly by electrodynamics, or it could be heated, causing vertical winds to hold the dense air aloft. CREX-2 features a number of equipment for measuring these impacts.

Another possibility is that the air in the cusp's vertical column is denser than the air around it. The dense air 250 miles high would remain buoyant if stacked atop heavier air. A column of heavier air, on the other hand, should produce horizontal or even vortex-like winds, which CREX-2 is programmed to detect.

The rocket will fire 20 soda can-sized canisters in four directions, each with its own miniature rocket motor. At various elevations, the canisters are timed to rupture. When they explode, vapor tracers, which are commonly seen in fireworks shows and glow by scattering sunlight or when exposed to oxygen in a three-dimensional grid in the sky, will be released. The wind will blow these light clouds across the sky, illustrating how the air travels in this particular part of the environment.

Read Also: NASA Hubble Images: Online Tool Lets You Check What Space Telescope Saw During Your Birthday!

NASA's Resolution in the North Pole

This part of the endeavor necessitates a lot of planning. "It's quite a big chess game", Conde explained. To gain a complete picture of the wind patterns, the crew needs to examine the tracers from a variety of angles.

Over the span of 20-30 minutes, scientists, some of whom are graduate students, will be stationed throughout Scandinavia to photograph the tracers. One student will photograph them from a plane flying from Iceland's Reykjavik, while others will photograph them from two locations on the Norwegian island of Svalbard.

According to NASA, the cusp is only visible around local noon, and the sky must be dark to see the tracers' glow. CREX-2 will launch in the middle of the winter as there is very little sunlight at these far northern latitudes.

 

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