A giant bubble of Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio frequency, formed by human activity, not only surrounds the Earth but also protects the planet from charged radioactive materials.
The bubble was first detected in 2017, according to NASA, and is a result of very low-frequency radio communication, which are mostly used for coding or long-distance messaging, such as contacting deep-sea submarines. These frequencies have been “leaking” into space, forming a sort of shield around the Planet.
Very Low Frequency (VLF)
VLF radio needs a large antenna for detection, as David Grossman states in Popular Mechanics, so they are only used for special purposes. VLF is commonly used for submarine communication, which works because of the lengthy VLF waves’ penetrative ability.
But what is a lesser-known fact is that these VLF can also fly out into space as well! Over the years, the signals have interacted with charged particles there, affecting where and how they move.
What’s even more surprising is that while countless human activities are having disastrous effects on the planet, these human activities might just have resulted in something good for the entire planet!
These interactions create a barrier around Earth against natural high-energy particle radiation in space, thus the man-made bubble actually saves the planet from cosmic phenomena. These results, part of a comprehensive paper on human-induced space weather, were published in Space Science Reviews back in 2017.
The discovery was made using the Van Allen Probes, the spacecraft which was launched in 2012 to monitor the bands of charged particles surrounding the Earth.
According to NASA, the data from these probes suggest that the outer edge of the VLF transmission corresponds with a layer of charged particles at the inner edge of the Van Allen Belts.
Phil Erickson, assistant director at the MIT Haystack Observatory, told NASA: “A number of experiments and observations have figured out that, under the right conditions, radio communications signals in the VLF frequency range can in fact affect the properties of the high-energy radiation environment around the Earth.”
Shielding the planet
As mentioned, these Very Low Frequency (VLF) broadcasts have created a planetary cocoon, shielding the planet from high-energy particle radiation, according to a NASA press release.
Marina Koren wrote for The Atlantic, “The bubble forms a protective barrier around Earth, shielding the planet from potentially dangerous space weather, like solar flares and other ejections from the sun.”
Scientists speculate the VLF bubble is keeping the Van Allen Belts at away. Various nuclear blasts over the years have resulted in belts of radioactivity around Earth and scientists believe that if there were no human VLF transmissions, it would actually be much closer to Earth!
Historical data has also shown that this barrier has pushed away the belts of radioactivity around Earth, when compared to how they back in the 1960s.
A human-made bubble that surrounds and protects our planet, well, this might be summarized as a ‘happy accident’.
The fact that humans have accidently created something that’s affecting space means, there might be further modification and further exploration to ensure that humans could sustain such protective layers, this time by will and not by accident.
As David Grossman mentioned in Popular Mechanics, they could also help us cleanse our atmosphere of excess radiation, a hazard along the route to mass space travel.
Thus, in the near future, VLF transmissions can serve as a way to remove excess radiation from the near-Earth environment with additional research. Jason Daley, a Wisconsin-based writer, mentioned in Smithsonian magazine that plans are also underway to test VLF transmissions in the upper atmosphere to see if excess charged particles can be eliminated, which can occur during times of extreme space weather.