Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: Emilio Romero on 29/04/2010 13:19:57

Title: artificial electromagnetic field for Mars?
Post by: Emilio Romero on 29/04/2010 13:19:57

If we were to build huge magnets –electromagnets— and (just as satellites) make them orbit Mars, with solar panels to charge them… could we generate an electromagnetic field (such as Earth’s) and improve the planet’s habitability?
And, for that matter… could we do the same here in Earth to benefit our planet?
Thank you
Title: artificial electromagnetic field for Mars?
Post by: imatfaal on 01/05/2010 10:48:38
Perhaps not.  Even if we dont worry about the technical and logistical arguments - piecemeal protection might never be able to work. 

Work after the Mars Global surveyor mission uncovered counter-intuitive ideas about the interaction of the solar wind and planetary magnetic fields. To start with is not true that mars is totally devoid of magnetic field - what it lacks is the single "bar magnet" bubble that envelops earth.  Mars does have strange localised magnetic fields that reach into the upper atmosphere and are described as magnetic umbrellas and were believed to protect the areas of atmosphere beneath them(it is this point that I found very similar to your proposition).  However it has been argued that these magnetic umbrellas interact with the charged solar wind to pinch off 'magnetic capsules' of upper atmosphere which are then swept away from the planet.  This possible interaction is an ongoing debate.

It is possible that piecemeal protection would stop the slow and continuous erosion, only to put into place the possibility of striping the atmosphere in discrete chunks. 


great nasa page summarising

Dr Dave Brain's site

Brain, D.A., A.H. Baker, J. Briggs, J.P. Eastwood, J.S. Halekas, T.-D. Phan, Episodic Detachment of Martian Crustal Magnetic Fields Leading to Bulk Atmospheric Escape, Science, submitted, 2010.