Posting in Technology
The European Space Agency satellite has gotten some bad data. Blame radio interference. But the ESA is cleaning up the interference - and it's starting to pay off.
The International Telecommunications Union gave the Earth Exploration Satellite Service a special frequency to use.
So the $434 million Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite operates on this frequency.
Although, the satellite should be collecting clean, climate information, sometimes it can't.
"These snapshots correspond to microwave radiation being emitted from Earth's surface and relate to the amount of moisture in soil and salinity in the ocean. This information is needed to improve our understanding of Earth's water cycle," the agency said.
But illegal radio and TV transmissions have been messing up some of the data. In some regions of the world, the data is really contaminated.
This map above shows the radio transmissions hot spots, which appear to be the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
This is rather frustrating, so the European Space Agency have been doing something about it.
Hello, transmission police. The National Spectrum Authorities are working with the ESA to end this, by investigating where the interference is coming from.
ESA wants the illegal devices transmitting signals on the protected band to stop. Sometimes, the fix is easy. Just re-tune the device so it's back on the correct frequency band.
Other times, authorities are contacted about the illegal interference. And then, crew members are sent out with sensors to figure out where the signal is coming from.
These are a few things to blame for contamination:
- TV transmitters
- radio links
Here is Spain with very little radio interference. The image is much cleaner.
So please, stay out of the 1400-1427 MHz transmission range. Let space and climate researchers have their dedicated frequency band.
"Painstaking efforts to reduce these unwanted signals are now paying off," the agency said.
Oct 7, 2010
Hmm... most of the interference seems to be coming from the underpopulated areas of the Sahara and Arabian deserts, and other desert areas of the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, and China. I guess I didn't realize that the vast shifting sands of the Western Sahara and Arabian pennensula had so many radio/TV/radar transmissions...
This is an area that is very familiar to Ham Radio operators. They have been assisting the FCC for many years and have solved many of the interference problems in the past. They have the equipment (for the most part) and the knowledge to ferret out illegal and/or accidental interference.
Your satellite photos of the Iberian Peninsula have a confusing caption: "Here is Spain without very little radio interference." It looks like you experimented with two different ways of phrasing that, and settled on a poor mix.
The E-M spectrum grows tighter each day. We need more international agreement and cooperation. The spectrum is a limited resource, just like fossil fuels and potable water, but I don't think too many people yet realize this.