Photo/IllutrationAn artist's rendition of the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) 3D radar system, which is planned inside the Arctic Circle by Japan and European countries (Provided by the National Institute of Polar Research)

Japan will help construct one of the world’s largest radars that will survey auroras, track global warming and also help protect satellites from solar activity and orbiting debris.

The European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) 3D radar project is made up of a total of 50,000 antenna set up at five locations inside the Arctic Circle in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The construction of a demonstration system will begin later this year in northern Norway, and the EISCAT is scheduled to start full operations in 2022.

Japan will be developing a transmitter--the “heart” of the radar.

The current EISCAT radar, the predecessor of EISCAT 3D, was developed by Germany, France, Britain and northern European nations. It started operations in 1981 to observe auroras and the atmosphere 70 to 1,500 kilometers above the ground.

Japan joined the EISCAT project in 1996.

The radio wave transmitting capacity of EISCAT 3D will be six times higher than its predecessor and can continue working automatically.

Its observation performance will be 50 to 100 times higher than that for the current system, which means the new radar will be able to detect space debris measuring just 1.5 centimeters floating at altitudes of 1,000 kilometers.

It will be able to observe the upper atmosphere at a range of 2,000 km.

To develop technology to send commands to satellites so that they can dodge approaching orbital objects, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is considering conducting a study using EISCAT 3D.

Hiroshi Miyaoka, a physics professor at the National Institute of Polar Research, said he has high expectations for the next-generation radar project.

“I hope Japan will take a leading role in the research by helping establish the atmosphere radar that will boast the world’s highest performance,” he said.

Research and development expenses for the project were included in the budget for this fiscal year.