Hitching Your Telecom To A Star

Who would have imagined that meteors blazing across the sky would be used for telecommunications? But that's the trick behind a clever technology--meteor burst communications. It doesn't require $300 million satellites. Instead, ground-based antennas bounce signals off the long, ionized trails left by the continual blizzard of meteors that rains into the ionosphere each day. So far, only brief, sporadic exchanges are possible. Most trails last just a second or two, and it takes the transmitter a minute or more to lock onto another, limiting use to intermittent commercial or military tasks such as relaying truck positions to fleet owners.

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