Welcome to the VLF page FAQ where we hope that all
of your questions about VLF and the INSPIRE project
will be answered.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INSPIRE is a program that utilizes specialized receiver kits to listen to
VLF stands for very low frequency. VLF signals are in the frequency range
from 0 to 20 kilohertz.
In 1991, a NASA Space Shuttle experiment involving VLF radio signals was
scheduled to fly on a mission in the spring of 1992. The radio signals
would come from a pulsed electron gun firing from the payload bay of the
There was a possibility that
the VLF signals could be detected by receivers
on the surface of the Earth. NASA needed a large number of radio receivers
spread out over a very large area in order to have a chance of detecting
the signal. Dr. Bill Taylor, a NASA scientist, suggested that high schools
be asked to see if they would like to participate. Information was sent
out to 10,000 high schools in the United States and over 1000 ordered
receiver kits. This was the start of The INSPIRE Project. Since 1992,
INSPIRE has conducted observations of natural VLF during the 1994 solar
eclipse and is currently conducting observations trying to detect signals
from an electron gun carried on board the Space Station MIR. In the
future, INSPIRE will support the investigations of the IMAGE Project which
will launch a satellite with a VLF transmitter early in the year 2000.
The INSPIRE progam uses build-it-yourself kits to measure and record VLF
emisions such as tweeks, whistlers, sherics, and chorus along with man-made
emissions such as OMEGA.
There is a great deal of scientific curiosity about the nature and
generation mechanisms of natural VLF radio emissions and how they interact
with the near-Earth space environment. The INSPIRE Project is taking an
active role in furthering the investigation of VLF emissions. This is
important because the answers are not fully understood at this time.
INSPIRE represents a rare opportunity to work with real space scientists on
real scientific problems.
For information on this topic you should email Willaim Pine.
The best conditions require you to be at least 500 meters from any type of
power lines or power source or you will hear an annoying 60 cycle hum.
Chances are that the first time you test the kit out you will hear this.
Depending on your area (rural,urban) this type of site may be hard to find.
Also you don't want to be enclosed in a heavily forested area because you
will get no sound at all.
You are listening for sferics, tweeks, whistlers, omega, and chorus. Check
out the Propagation Page for more
Contact Scott or