Space Weather Detection System
Several small <100kg weather
station satellites arrayed at various points around the solar
Each satellite will contain sensors for detecting the flow of charged
particles from the sun.
The early-warning group would be in an orbit
around the sun, inside the orbit of mercury. These would give a
direction to CMEs quickly after they depart the sun. (Sun radius
0.7x10^6km, Mercury orbit57x10^6km, this orbit ~38x10^6km). With
18 of these small satellites (18*100kg=1800kg could be placed in a
with one launch) we would have one every 20 degrees around the equator
of the sun, ensuring that any CME would hit a few of them.
The next group of satellites would be located in orbit around the
Earth-Sun L1 point. Being much closer to the earth, these
give the same early warning, but would provide a better intensity
estimate. This point is about 1% of the distance to the sun, so
this would give a warning time of approximately one hour for a CME, as
well as providing a good estimate of its intensity. If there is
more than one satellite here, it could provide a three dimensional
picture of the CME.
The next step would be to have a group of these in
medium/low earth orbit. This would provide values for the earths
magnetic field in space, so that models could predict how it will be
affected by a CME as it impacts. In additions, these will provide
important real-time status and data for post-event analysis to be used
in future models.
The final piece
would be a handful of these weather stations spread throughout the
outer solar system. These would give information on solar wind strength
and what kind of pressures a CME would face while moving outward.