AIRES Project (Argentina Ionospheric Radar Experimental Station)


 The aim of the Project is to put up the first global laboratory of ionospheric  plasma, which consists of an incoherent scatter radar (situated in Argentina) and a Heater which will operate in  Puerto Rico. During the first stage, the radar will be installed in Instituto Tecnológico Chascomus (INTECH), near Chascomus city, and wil work in tandem with Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico) for at least seven years. Geomagnetic conjugation between the points where these instruments will stand, will make it possible to carry out unpublished studies on power transmission to inter-hemispheric distances through flow tubes of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Scientific applications

• Global weather change

• Spatial meteorology

• Sun- earth interactions

• Mesosphere-thermosphere-ionosphere interactions

• Plasma physics

Technologic developments

• Latest generation Radars

• Global navigation  upheld/ supported by satellites (especially critical applications in land and aeronautic  transport)

• Earth and Satellite Communications

• Digital electronic Technologies.

• Information Technologies

• Scientific applications Software

Project description

Throughout the last decade, the American National Science Foundation (NSF) financed the development of an incoherent scatter radar called “Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar” (AMISR). It was possible to build a modular instrument which can be transported and re-installed in different places of interest, keeping the power and sensitivity typical of big radars in Arecibo or Jicamarca. This was achieved by combining advanced technologic concepts and solid components.

AMISR is a flexible instrument which allows unlimited experiments for high resolution remote sounding in mesosphere, termosphere and  ionosphere. The first AMISR prototype, whose antenna covers a 40 by 40 metres 40 surface, was installed in 2007, in Poker Flat, Alaska. Other two similar instruments were installed in 2009 in Resolute Bay, Canada. Although these instruments started operating a few years ago, substantial progress was made in the understanding of the physical and chemical processes that take place in the earth’s auroral regions.


The project


The “Argentina Ionospheric Radar Experimental Station” (AIRES) Project was born in April, 2006, during a workshop held in Arecibo Observatory. Some groups of scientits devoted to the study of Upper Atmosphere in  Argentina and USA gathered in the workshop. The aim was  to, design a cooperative strategy to overcome the biggest obstacle that prevents us from understanding global atmospheric processes: the lack of instruments in the southern hemisphere.  An agreement was reached on joining efforts to install an AMISR in a conjugated magnetic point in Arecibo Observatory, situated near La Plata city, in  Buenos Aires province, Argentina.

 Arecibo is the most powerful and sensitive instrument, with its 300 m diameter  antenna, radar and radiotelescope. It is used to study the earth’s upper atmosphere, the surface of the stars in the Solar System and a great variety of galactic and extragalactic objects. At the beginning of.2011, the Arecibo Observatory will start operating a new instrument –called “heater”– that will allow controlled disruption of ionospheric plasma, The radar to be installed in Argentina at Institute of Technology in Chascomus (INTECH) precints, will make it possible to observe how disruptions generated in Arecibo spread through the magnetic flow tube which connects Arecibo with La Plata. In this way, Arecibo–AIRES will make up the first global laboratory on ionospheric  plasma (Fig. 1) in order to research into mechanisms of power transmission to inter- hemispheric distances, through the plasma confined in the earth’s magnetic field lines.


Figure 1. Schematic representation of the global laboratory on ionospheric plasma, made up of the radar in Arecibo and AMISR which will be installed in INTECH (the image shows a prototype of AMISR that is nowadays working in Alaska)