The goal of Active Radio Interferometer for Explosion Surveillance (ARIES) is to implement an operational system for monitoring ionospheric pressure waves that result from surface and atmospheric nuclear or chemical explosives. The ARIES program involves adding a small VHF receiver and associated support electronics to future Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, and establishing 8 - 10 VHF transmitter stations spaced around the earth. Explosions produce pressure waves that can be detected by measuring phase variations between VHF signals generated by ground stations along two different paths to the satellite. Advanced codes are being developed to take into account acoustic wave attenuation issues, and neutral-particle/charged-particle coupling issues. Collaborations are being pursued with the Space Forecast Center to use ARIES data for total electron content measures on a global scale, and with the meteorology/global environment community to monitor global climate change (via tropospheric water vapor content measurements), and by the general ionospheric physics community to study travelling ionospheric disturbances. The program includes demonstration experiments using an existing satellite transponder.
This program supports the DOE mission to provide technology to detect the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and is part of the Nonproliferation and Verification Research and Development program.