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Project Waterhole, Interrupting Aurora With Water Vapor

Project Waterhole is a series of three sounding rocket launches supported by extensive ground based scientific instrumentation. The purpose of the program was conceived as an experiment to perturb and modify the auroral ionosphere by attempting to produce an ionospheric 'hole' at approximately 300 km altitude on magnetic field lines connected to a discrete early evening auroral arc. The hole would be produced by releasing a high explosive charge from the payload. It was speculated that the presence of the 'hole' would interfere with the field aligned current systems associated with the arc and would in turn perturb the auroral source mechanism with dramatic effect on the arc itself. This paper describes the currently popular scientific theories associated with auroral arcs and their mechanisms, the development of the experiment concept and support instrumentation and the results, their evaluation and conclusions. Experimenters from Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories, the Universities of Western Ontario and Saskatchewan, Cornell University, York University and the National Research Council of Canada are participating in this project. [1]

Released water vapor into F-region above aurora. H2O and CO2 ions dissociatively recombine to produce ion hole: “Waterhole.” Reduce ionospheric conductivity and disrupt auroral current system and ... [2]

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Hendry, R., Yau, A. "Waterhole-An auroral modification experiment." 6th Sounding Rocket Conference. 1982.
Yau, Andrew. "International Collaboration in Sounding Rocket Research." University of Calgary, CSA Workshop on Suborbital Platforms and Nanasatellites. (2010).
Yau, A. W., et al. "Observations of particle precipitation, electric field, and optical morphology of an artificially perturbed auroral arc: Project Waterhole." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 86.A7 (1981): 5601-5613.

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