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Next Generation Radio Arrays for Geospace Science

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Radio and radar instrumentation plays a key role in the observation of the space environment. Ground based radio instrumentation has provided a sustained record of observation and scientific discovery for study of the Geospace environment. On-going technological trends, such as the exponential improvement in computing technology, have greatly changed how we operate existing instrumentation and the capabilities which are possible in future designs. Recent efforts have led to the development of radio arrays which have extraordinary capabilities. To date the majority of theses instruments have been developed and used for applications in Radio Astronomy. Radio arrays can be constructed in a wide variety of scale sizes and spatial distributions. When combined with one or more transmitters it is possible to produce active radar systems or passive radars using transmitters of opportunity. Advanced radio arrays are digital instruments with measurement techniques implemented as software running on high performance computing systems. This computing capacity is used to control, filter, and interpret the flow of information from the sensor elements. In many cases this information can be used to simultaneously address multiple applications and this ability can be enhanced with appropriate instrument design. When applied to Geoscience, advanced radio arrays can provide a wide range of scientific capability and enable measurements from the lower atmosphere, into the ionosphere, through the heliosphere, and to the surface of the Sun. The principles by which we design such instruments are guided by the scientific scope we allow ourselves. This scope determines the potential for enabling future discoveries and is a key element in the overall value of the instrumentation to society. I will discuss future technological trends which will shape the next generation of Geospace radio arrays, define the principals for guiding their development, and highlight examples from on-going work which inform us of their potential for measurement of the space environment.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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