Space Plasma Exploration by Active Radar (SPEAR): an overview of a future radar facility
Abstract. SPEAR is a new polar cap HF radar facility which is to be deployed on Svalbard. The principal capabilities of SPEAR will include the generation of artificial plasma irregularities, operation as an 'all-sky' HF radar, the excitation of ULF waves, and remote sounding of the magnetosphere. Operation of SPEAR in conjunction with the multitude of other instruments on Svalbard, including the EISCAT Svalbard radar, and the overlap of its extensive field-of-view with that of several of the HF radars in the SuperDARN network, will enable in-depth diagnosis of many geophysical and plasma phenomena associated with the cusp region and the substorm expansion phase. Moreover, its ability to produce artificial radar aurora will provide a means for the other instruments to undertake polar cap plasma physics experiments in a controlled manner. Another potential use of the facility is in 'field-line tagging' experiments, for coordinated ground-satellite experiments. Here the scientific objectives of SPEAR are detailed, along with the proposed technical specifications of the system.
Key words: Ionosphere (active experiments) – Radio science (instruments and techniques) – Space plasma physics (instruments and techniques)