NASA scientists say an artificial magnetic shield could rebuild Mars' atmosphere

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,036   +150
Staff member

A team of scientists led by Dr. Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, recently suggested creating an artificial magnetosphere around Mars that could be used to help shield it from solar radiation and wind.

Many in the scientific community believe that Mars, like Earth, once had a protective magnetic field that shielded its atmosphere. Around 4.2 billion years ago, however, something happened and the magnetic field went away. It is thought that this event ultimately led to Mars’ atmosphere being lost to space and over the course of the next 500 million years, the planet went from being wet and warm to the cold, baron place we know today.

At the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop in a panel titled "A Future Mars Environment for Science and Exploration," Green outlined a plan to a position magnetic dipole shield at the Mars L1 Lagrange Point. This could create an artificial magnetosphere that would encompass the entire planet which would in turn protect it from space.

Furthermore, the atmosphere would foster a rise in temperature that would melt the carbon dioxide ice in the northern polar ice cap and hopefully trigger a greenhouse effect, causing additional warming of the atmosphere and melting polar ice caps into water.

Such a transformation wouldn’t happen overnight but according to Green, a greatly enhanced Martian atmosphere, in both pressure and temperature, that would be enough to allow significant surface liquid water would also have a number of benefits for science and human exploration in the 2040s and beyond.

It certainly sounds “safer” than Elon Musk’s idea of nuking Mars.

Image courtesy Ittiz, Wikimedia Commons

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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,659   +7,561
You know, some days it's more fun to wake up .... just never know who the next biggest kook will be or what they'll say!


Posts: 424   +220
But how do you power this magnetic shield ? And wait I have seen this movie... Total Recall?

So, Quaid finds out that the mag field is losing power, that Consuela, the Mexican lady who needs more lemon pledge decided she needed that plug socket for her vacuum cleaner. Kadunk, power down begins. Lois is all like "the f*** Peter, this is all your fault", and Stewie decides he needs to find the 3 breasted lady before life is over, except Brain questions Stewie's sexuality, and wouldn't a guy with 3 testicles make more sense.
So now he tries to kill Lois with his ray gun, you know how he has all them doobry flips, but he just opens a vortex instead. Enters Roger, realizing he is on the wrong show, wonders how much he has drunk the night before staggers over to smack Lois on the tushy, misses, falls over, accidentally inserting his sausages into the Alien hand shaped crevice, (see movie) and hey presto starts some weird planet saving tech. The End. "Shut Up Meg!"


Posts: 1,506   +2,736
If our civilization survives the next 100 years we'll dominate this solar system in the 100 after that. The energy problem feels like a critical juncture for our species.

Mr Dude

Posts: 64   +47
It certainly sounds “safer” than Elon Musk’s idea of nuking Mars.

But is it more fun?
This just sounds like a bad idea, what if you accidentally nuke the planet so hard it crumbles or splits in two and goes thermal and then we have a black hole nextdoor.

That would be great!
The gravity pull of a black hole next door should reduce the thrust necessary to break orbit by a lot!
And by consequence, the price of space travel, too. It'd be a win-win.


Posts: 18,527   +7,370
You know, some days it's more fun to wake up .... just never know who the next biggest kook will be or what they'll say!
These geniuses always think they know how to go about how to create an atmosphere on another planet, yet they can't divert a simple hurricane on this planet, which already has an atmosphere.

Maybe they should get their heads out of Mars' "would be clouds" (*), and work on something practical, like maybe stopping our polar caps from melting.

(*) But then they'd need to get their heads out of their own a**es before they did that. Never mind.