The tensed taciturn conflict between the United States and the USSR lasted for about 45 years. In this time, both parties were sharpening their skills and weapons to win an invisible race. In this process were involved nuclear tests. Even though there was no need in the end to launch a nuke, the countries made sure their deadly weapons were truly working. It was only recently that scientists discovered that these tests changed space weather.
Nuclear Tests during the Cold War Created Artificial Radiation Belts
The journal Space Science Reviews published a new paper entitled “Anthropogenic Space Weather.” According to this study, nuclear tests that reached high altitudes during the Cold War constructed human-made radiation shields near Earth.
Our planet is already surrounded by Van Allen radiation belts. However, these are natural and managed to attain a synergetic relationship with Earth most of the time. On the other hand, the artificial shields made way to electrically charged, hot areas. As a consequence, scientists believe that this human-made phenomenon was responsible for severe damages to some of the Earth’s satellites.
VLF Waves Are Another Human-Generated Waves that Have a Protective Nature
It is estimated that both U.S. and USSR conducted over 500 nuclear tests. However, most of these weapons were triggered in the atmosphere at a minimum distance of 16 miles above Earth. Their effects continue to affect the quality of space weather. They create geomagnetic storms that impair national space agencies’ works and communication satellites alike. This study is of great importance to space knowledge. Based on these findings, people can assess the nature of space weather better and how it can truly affect the human kind.
Another finding that stemmed from this very paper as well regards a secondary utility of the Very Low Frequency waves. These are a type of radio waves that submarines are usually employing for communication. These are human-made also, yet this time they are acting in favor of Earth. This is because scientists managed to observe that they formed a shield around the planet that keeps harmful radiation at bay.
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