Guarding Mars with a Magnetic Shield

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NASA is proposing a plan that could protect explorers and possibly restore some of the planets water


If you ask a scientist why Mars is the cold, dead planet that it is today, normally you will receive an answer about the loss of it’s magnetic field over 4 billion years go. This field is attributed to protecting the planet against solar winds that has slowly deteriorated most of its atmosphere to where it is today. A NASA-led group of scientists have been discussing options that could in fact protect what is left as well as protect future explorers. These scientists have proposed a magnetic shield that would not only deflect solar winds and incoming radiation but simulations have suggested that over time, the atmosphere could get thick enough to melt carbon dioxide at Mars’ northern pole, a reaction that could spark the greenhouse gas effect, melting ice water and restoring some of Mars’ oceans.

While some skeptics have mentioned the difficulties associated, NASA reports that the concept isn’t as far fetched as one may initially believe. Extensive research has already been performed, with promising results, about the inflatable structures that would be required to create the mini-magnetosphere needed. The biggest challenge that both sides agree on, is the requirement for time. A magnetic shield would have a relatively rapid effect on radiation, it is unknown as to how long it would be before the atmosphere would be thick enough to increase temperatures and begin the greenhouse gas effect. All in all, this process is essentially attempting to terraform Mars – a process that, at its quickest, would take decades.

The first step in to making a leap towards something that would change the world as we know it – is to discuss the options and to work together towards a common goal. Realistic, logical and testable ideas along with a bit of human exploratory drive could in fact save or even change the “Red Planet” into something a bit more habitable for future generations.

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