DARPA Seeks to Use Atmosphere as Geolocation Sensor

The Defense Advanced Projects Agency is pursuing an effort to study the atmosphere's feasibility for use as a geolocation sensor. DARPA said Thursday that its Atmosphere as a Sensor or AtmoSense program aims to determine whether the atmosphere can function as a global detector for catastrophes and incidents on or over Earth.

The effort would look into the energy trails that disastrous events would leave across parts of the atmosphere, including the mesosphere and ionosphere.

“Perhaps I can learn what occurred from information in the atmosphere," said Maj. C. David Lewis, AtmoSense program manager at DARPA. "I want to find out how much information is available and if I can disaggregate the signal I’m interested in from other natural phenomena creating noise in the background," he added.

The program will include a 27-month concept development phase and a 12-month field testing phase. DARPA held a proposer's day for the program last Friday in Arlington, Va.

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