The Principal Investigator of this award will collaborate with colleagues of the European Incoherent Scatter Association (EISCAT) in the development of an advanced radar system called EISCAT-3D. EISCAT 3D will be located in Scandinavia and will be the first all-digital radar system, capable of three dimensional volumetric imaging of the geospace environment. The PI will be the chair of the EISCAT 3D Technical Advisory Committee and will contribute to the system architecture and design. The advanced radar technology to be developed will enable new research in space plasma physics, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, long-term climate trends, and space weather. The EISCAT 3D design builds from the successful development of the Advance Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) originally funded by NSF. AMISR systems in Alaska and Arctic Canada have demonstrated the merits of solid-state, phased array incoherent scatter radars in terms of measurement capabilities, versatility of operations, and ease of deployment. The PI will serve as Chair of EISCAT 3D Technical Advisory Committee. His involvement in the development of EISCAT 3D will provide many opportunities for technological and intellectual exchange between the U. S. and Europe. This effort will advance the state of the art in geospace radar systems, enable a host of transformative scientific research, and will help reduce cost and risk. The technology to be developed will be state of the art and pave the way for future instrumentation for space and astronomical research.

Project Report

This project enabled participation by the United States in a major international effort to develop the EISCAT 3D radar system. This radar system will be sited in Norway, Sweden, and Finland and will enable detailed study of the space environment. The all digital radar system will be capable of three dimensional volumetric imaging of the Geospace environment. The system will contribute greatly to international capabilities for studies in space plasma physics, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, impacts of the lower atmosphere on the ionosphere, long term monitoring of upper atmospheric climate and trends, and realtime diagnostics for Space Weather applications. The intellectual merit of this activity is that the EISCAT 3D radar system will be a significant technological advance beyond existing Geospace radars. This system will be capable of full three dimensional imaging of the fundamental physical parameters in the Earth's northern Auroral zone. Such measurements form the core of an international scientific effort to study the physics, dynamics, and climate of the near space environment. Participation in this effort has helped to combine United States expertise in radar system development with that of our European colleagues to lower the technical risks and costs associated with the EISCAT 3D project and enable its use by the global scientific community (including United States scientists). The broader impacts of this proposal included meaningful opportunities for technological and intellectual exchange. Such international collaborations play an increasingly important role in the development of scientific instrumentation and its application to global challenges. This effort built a new chapter in an already long history of collaboration between the NSF supported United States Geospace Facilities and the EISCAT organization. This effort has helped to advance the state of the art in Geospace Radar systems, enable a host of new scientific opportunities, and will greatly reduce the risk for future facilities implemented with similar capabilities.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS)
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Robert M. Robinson
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States
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