What are the four long wires for that stick out of the side of the IMAGE satellite?

These are the antenna for the Radio Plasma Imager experiment. The four long wires are oriented at 90 degree intervals along the spin plane of the satellite. They are 250 meters in length but are only the thickness of heavy- gage nylon fishing line. They are made of kevlar and copper fibers.

The long-wire antennas will transmit pulses of radio frequency waves into space with about 10 watts of power at 3,000 volts. They will then be used in receiver mode to pick-up the echoed radio signal from distant clumps of plasma in the magnetosphere. There are two more short antennas 10 meters in length that are oriented along the spin axis of the satellite, and these will also pick-up the received echoes and allow space scientists to determine which hemisphere, above or below the spin plane of the satellite, the echos were received.


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