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It most likely is needed for vulcanism. I need to think about the last question.
...A magnetic field would be absolutely necessary to sustain life...
Quote from: frethack on 27/08/2010 16:57:01...A magnetic field would be absolutely necessary to sustain life...For DNA type life, where the DNA analogue was similarly fragile as our own I think this is probably true, but there's no reason why a less fragile and more radiation resistant analogue could not occur. On the down side though, such a more radiation resistant DNA analogue would also result in a slower rate of evolution.