October 30, 2009
Balancing Use Of The Radio Spectrum
Scientists monitor passive radio-wave emissions from diverse objects such as hurricanes and distant galaxies to study Earth's environment and climate and learn more about the universe. However, the radio spectrum is also used by radiating or "active" services -- ranging from aircraft radars to consumer products such as cellular telephones and wireless Internet -- which can interfere with or drown out the weak signals from these passive natural transmissions used for scientific research. A new report from the National Research Council, SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT FOR SCIENCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, examines the radio spectrum needs of scientists and offers recommendations on how spectrum usage could be balanced between active and passive users.