The overall theme of EISCAT_3D is to explore the multiple facets of the question how the Earth's atmosphere is coupled to space. The EISCAT_3D science encompasses climate change, space weather, space debris and near-Earth object studies. The technical challenges to handle large data volumes will employ tools from the newly emerging field of e-science and spur collaboration with local computing centres. EISCAT_3D will provide an unprecedented resource for observations of the near-Earth space. It will provide long-term time-series data of the ionospheric conditions enabling studies of variations on a time-scale over several solar cycles.
When in operation, EISCAT_3D will be at a central position in the international, and trans-regional, space cluster of Northernmost Scandinavia, which includes large space research centres in Kiruna (Sweden), Sodankylä (Finland) and Tromsø (Norway), two rocket launch facilities in Andøya (Norway) and Esrange (Sweden), and several other instruments and instrument networks for geospace observation such as magnetometers and auroral cameras.
The scientific data from EISCAT_3D will be an invaluable asset for models and near real-time forecasts of space weather effects on modern technology, including power grids and other important infrastructures. EISCAT_3D can also contribute to the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme by tracking known space debris and assisting communication and navigation services like the Galileo navigation satellites. Discussions have just been initiated between EISCAT, agencies and institutes in the Nordic countries and the European Space Agency (ESA) on the prospect of including EISCAT_3D in ESA's SSA programme. EISCAT will continue to be an active participant in global observation campaigns and international and European research projects. From its foundation EISCAT has been a purely scientific organisation. The radar technologies to be used with EISCAT_3D allow the detection and tracking of small objects in space. The new Bluebook has stipulations that ensures that the EISCAT facilities will be used strictly for scientific and civilian purposes.