Microwaves

Why are they useful for and what benefits do they have?

When you think of the word Microwave you may think of cooking food, but they have more benefits than just that.

  • They are used to send information over long distances. Cell phones send signals to transmitters and receive signals from transmitters using microwaves. (Sound and Light textbook page 68)
  • Signals that are sent between Earth and artificial satellite in space are carried by microwaves. (Sound and Light textbook page 68) This is called satellite communication. (site 3)
  • Shorter microwaves are used radars, like doppler radars, in weather forcasting. Microwaves can penetrate through haze, clouds, and smoke. Because of this, they are good for transmitting information and viewing Earth from space which is useful for detecting weather. (sites 1 and 4)
  • Microwaves are most commonly known for heating up food. The magnetron inside of a microwave oven produce microwaves causing water and fat molecules in food to vibrate and heat up. (site 5)
  • Any type of information that can be transmitted through telephone wires or coaxial cables can be sent through a microwave circuit. (site 6)
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Microwave Transmitter (above)

Signals from a cell phone or wireless device travels through microwaves to this transmitter where information is then sent back to the phone.
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Microwave Oven (above)

This is where microwaves heat the molecules in food so it can be eaten.
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Connection of Microwaves to satellites in space and transmitters on Earth (above)

Microwaves can pass through the atmosphere to the satellites in space and carry information and signals to the transmitters.
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Microwave Background (above)

This picture shows that microwaves are all around us. This concept is called Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation that fills the universe.

How might this type of wave impact or be used on our Mission to Mars?

Microwaves are used for long distance communication. This could be very helpful for traveling to Mars because once we send people to Mars, we can use microwaves with the help of transmitters and satellites to communicate with the people being sent to space. Microwaves also heat up food. Eating food on Mars will be easier because we can bring frozen food and use microwaves to heat up the food.