March 03, 2017

NASA plans to create 'artificial magnetic field' turning the red planet

NASA scientists have proposed a radical idea to launch a magnetic field around Mars, with hopes it could protect the red planet from intense solar wind and allow humans to explore alongside rovers.

It sounds far fetched even for the plot of a sci-fi film.

Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, revealed the idea on February 2nd at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop in Washington DC.

Without the barrage of high-energy particles, Mars' atmosphere would begin to rebuild itself over time. In just a matter of years, the simulations show the planet could achieve an 'Earth comparable field'. Increasing the pressure would cause the equator to heat up, leading the polar cap to collapse, Green says.

These would release carbon dioxid, which would turn to gas and begin to fill the atmosphere to heat up, melting the ice and allowing for the return of liquid water. And, after just a couple of years, the climate would stabilize.

'This is not terraforming, as you may think about it, where we actually artificially change the climate', Green said. 'We let nature do it. And we do that based on the physics we know today.'

Scientists are now working to figure out how they could generate the artificial magnetosphere - but, according to Green, they can already launch similar systems into L1.


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