The answer is easy for science

In a perfect vacuum 100% makes it the distance wont matter light makes it from stars billions of light years away.

In air totally different problem because air attenuates the energy that is why ligo is done in a vacuum tube.

I am not sure what your point is all that is known and obvious .. you say you are an engineer call it what it is attenuation that is it's proper engineering name

There is no attenuation in space or we wouldn't see light from stars .. do the maths yourself if you can see the light from a star several billion years old the attenuation coefficient has got to be like really really small and you see the stars constantly so most likely the attenuation coefficient is 0 dbm. Given how long light travels from a star and there are no gaps in it I am not sure you could argue the attenuation coefficient is anything other than zero.

So using your classic physics or best engineering physics explain to me how you want to argue space attenuation is anything other than zero.

That's why I can't work out where you are going with this all you are going to see is the attenuation coefficient of earths atmosphere you aren't going to learn anything about space because the attenuation coefficient of space is already blatantly obvious even to crazy classic physics.

I can't for the life of me work out what you think the problem is.

In your drawing of the plane above I really doubt it will work because attenuation thru a media involves more than just the movement of the media.

Look carefully at the attenuation reference for air in the link

Air 1.64 (20C)

See we had to quote the air temperature and I am afraid it is worse the pressure will also change it. I am pretty sure those effects alone on a plane are going to drown the signal you are after and I am still thinking if the change in gravity may also cause a problem ... I don't doubt the signal exists I just doubt you will be able to get an easy stable measurement on it as it's going to be tiny.

Edited by Orac (11/13/13 03:29 PM)
I believe in "Evil, Bad, Ungodly fantasy science and maths", so I am undoubtedly wrong to you.