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About The STARFIRE Algorithm

Focus: GS III: Science and Technology

Why in News?

Recently, Scientists at Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology have developed an algorithm names STARFIRE to tackle unwanted Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) in space, enriching data obtained from space-based astronomy missions.

STARFIRE: Revolutionizing Space-Based Astronomy with Advanced RFI Estimation

  • STARFIRE (Simulation of TerrestriAl Radio Frequency Interference in oRbits around Earth) is an advanced algorithm developed to estimate and map unwanted Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) signals in space.
  • To develop this algorithm, scientists utilized data on FM transmitter stations from six countries, including Canada, the USA, Japan, Australia, Germany, and South Africa.
Its applications and potential impact on space-based Astronomy missions are remarkable:
  • Estimation and Identification of RFI: STARFIRE can estimate and identify RFI emitted by various sources, such as FM radio stations, Wi-Fi networks, mobile towers, radar, satellites, and communication devices.
  • Enriching Space-Based Astronomy Missions: By mitigating unwanted RFI signals, STARFIRE revolutionizes space-based Astronomy missions, enhancing data quality and insights into the early Universe.
  • Early Universe Studies: The algorithm aids astronomers in studying the early Universe by estimating and mapping unwanted RFI signals in space.
  • Tuning Radio Antennas: STARFIRE enables tuning radio antennas within the 40 to 200 MHz range to detect the 21-cm hydrogen line, revealing cosmic secrets.
  • Designing Instruments for Space-Based Missions: The algorithm helps design instruments that operate optimally in the presence of RFI, leading to improved data collection and analysis.
  • Application in PRATUSH Mission: STARFIRE is utilized in missions like PRATUSH, which studies the birth of stars and galaxies using the 21-cm hydrogen line from the far side of the moon.
  • Antenna and Instrument Fine-Tuning: STARFIRE plays a crucial role in fine-tuning antennas and instrument components for successful data gathering.
  • Orbit Selection for Future Missions: The algorithm aids in identifying low RFI orbits, particularly in the ~100 MHz frequency range, making them suitable for scientific experiments.
  • Flexibility in Antenna Properties: STARFIRE allows adjusting properties of transmitting and receiving antennas, facilitating meaningful experimental results from astrophysical radio signals.
  • Adaptable Mathematical Formulation: STARFIRE’s generic mathematical formulation makes it adaptable for various applications, benefiting missions with low RFI orbits.

Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)

  • RFI is a form of electromagnetic interference (EMI) that impacts devices or circuits operating with radio frequencies.
  • Impact on Space Systems: RFI in space can significantly affect the quality and reliability of satellite communications, navigation systems, and remote sensing equipment.
  • Interference with Scientific Instruments: Space-based instruments, such as radio telescopes and radars, can also be affected by RFI, leading to interference with scientific observations and measurements.
  • Ensuring RFI-free space environments is crucial for the smooth functioning of various space-based systems and to enable accurate scientific exploration and data gathering.
  • Efforts to mitigate RFI are essential to enhance the overall performance and reliability of space missions and research.

April 2024