Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has officially inaugurated the Virginia Tech. Nigerian Bowen Equatorial Aeronomy Radar (VT-NigerBEAR) at Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State.
Osinbajo stated during the inauguration on Friday at the institution’s premises that it was the world’s first and only deployment of an equatorial-low-latitude SuperDARN.
The SuperDarn is a network of High Frequency (HF) radars that look into Earth’s upper atmosphere.
The radars operate round the clock & observe the motion of charged particles (plasma) in the ionosphere &other effects that provide scientists with info on Earth’s space environment. Their work provides insights into space weather hazards, among others.
In 2005, the mid-latitude SuperDARN began operating at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, USA.
The second was deployed in Hokkaido, Japan in, 2006.
Today, there are 21 mid-latitude SuperDARN radars across the world, providing immense technological advantages in the mid-latitude regions.
But irregularities in the ionosphere are also found in the lower latitudes, the equatorial low latitudes, and because there was no SuperDarn the causes of degrading HF and GPS signals have remained a mystery.
Now our own SuperDarn radar, the VTNigerBear will resolve that mystery. VTNigerBEAR was developed by a team of scientists led by Bowen University and Virginia Tech University, USA.
The extensive experience of the SuperDARN creates opportunities for Nigeria to leverage existing expertise, information, and data as she joins a global network with experience spanning decades.
This project can radically transform communications – infrastructure, space research, equipment design, geo-mapping, forecasting, and prediction of atmospheric, climatic, and oceanic conditions within Nigeria and the near low latitudes.
It can be useful for offshore oil exploration activities, and support the activities of the navy by measuring ocean wave heights, surface currents, and surface wind directions over vast, remote areas on Nigerian waterways.
It can also significantly change the quality of our communications, telecommunications devices, global positioning systems, satellite communications, military communications, and aerial surveillance.