Is human control of natural radiation environment near Earth possible?

Speaker: Man Hua
Institution: UCLA
Location: Math Sciences 7124
Date: September 28, 2022
Time: 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm


Abstract: The discovery of the Earth’s radiation belts in 1958 was the first major finding of the Space Age. The doughnut-shaped radiation belts consist of energetic particles trapped by the geomagnetic field. Understanding and forecasting the energetic electron dynamics in this region have been one of the top concerns for the space physics community, since these electrons can pose a hazard to satellites and astronauts in space. In recent years, significant efforts have been made in revealing the underlying physical mechanisms that drive the electron dynamics in the radiation belts. It has been well acknowledged that the plasma waves that can be frequently observed in the radiation belts have a significant impact on electron acceleration and loss processes. These plasma waves include naturally occurring waves and the man-made very-low-frequency (VLF) waves from the ground-based VLF transmitters. In this talk, we discuss the impact of VLF transmitters waves along with other natural plasma waves on the radiation belt electron dynamics near Earth. We will also talk about whether the human control of natural radiation environment near Earth is possible in the future.