Forecasting space weather has been known to be a difficult thing to do, but now it can be easier done through the help of an Australian-made satellite.
A Space.com report specified that CUAVA-1, an Australian-made space weather satellite, was deployed on October 6 from the International Space Station into orbit.
Launched to the space station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in August, a major concentration of this shoebox-sized CubeSat is to investigate what radiation from the Sun is doing to Earth's atmosphere and electronic devices.
Space weather like solar flares and changes in the solar wind is affecting the ionosphere of Earth. This is a layer of charged particles existing in the upper atmosphere.
This, in turn, affects long-distance radio communications and some satellites' orbits, not to mention creating variabilities in the electromagnetic field that can cause mayhem with electronics ins pace and down to the ground.
Additionally, the new satellite was originally designed and constructed by the Australian Research Council Training enter for CUAVA or Cubesats, UAVs, and their Applications.
It carries payloads and technology demonstrators constructed through a collaboration from the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, and UNSW-Sydney.
A similar Phys.org report specified that one of the goals of CUAVA-1 is to help enhance the forecasting of space weather, which is presently very limited. And its scientific mission, CUAVA-1 represents, too, a step headed toward the goal of growing the local space industry of the Australian Space Agency of 20,000 jobs by 2030.
While it was only in 2018 when the Australian Space Agency was formed, Australia has a long history in the study of satellites.
For instance, in 2002, FedSat was one of the first satellites to carry a GPS receiver onboard worldwide. At present, space-based GPS receivers are making it possible to regularly gauge the atmosphere worldwide, both for monitoring and forecasting weather.
Essentially, the Bureau of Meteorology and other weather forecasting agencies depend on space-based GPS data in their weather forecast.
Moreover, space-based GPS receivers are also making it possible to monitor the ionosphere of Earth. From heights of approximately 80 to 1,000 kilometers, the atmosphere's layer transitions from a gas of uncharged atoms and molecules to a gas of charged particles, both ions and electrons. This particular gas of charged particles is also known as "plasma."
The ionosphere is the site of the attractive auroral demonstrations common at high latitudes during moderate geomagnetic storms or adverse space weather although there is much more to it.
In addition, the ionosphere can lead to difficulties for a satellite that positions and navigates, although it is sometimes useful, too, like when ground-based radar and radio indicators can be bounced off to communicate or scan over the horizon.
Importance of Getting Better at Weather Forecasting in Space
A report from The Conversation said, understanding the complications of sunspots will help in predicting whether substantial solar flares may occur.
Experts developed a real-time automated computer system that utilizes image processing and artificial intelligence technologies to monitor and analyze solar satellite data.
This helps in the prediction of the possibility of solar flares in the coming 24 hours. As such, they pioneered innovations for automatic processing, identification, and feature of the solar features' extraction such as active regions and sunspots, caught by the solar dynamics observatory satellite of NASA.
In addition to this, the first automated and real-time system for the classification of sunspots. Prior to this, the sunspots' classification was a manual procedure painstakingly performed by experts.
Related information about weather forecasting in space is shown on Space Foundation's YouTube video below:
Check out more news and information on Space on Science Times.