Scientists aim to build an artificial Magnetic Shield around Mars to make it habitable Again

Scientists have a new plan to bring mars back to life. Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Scientists have come up with an ingenious new way of bringing Mars back to ‘life’. Experts want to create an artificial magnetic field in the orbit between Mars and the Sun in order to protect the planet’s atmosphere and create a more favorable environment for future human explorers. “Perhaps one-seventh of the ancient ocean could return to Mars,” scientists said.

NASA scientists say that even though the red planet had a magnetic field, around 4.2 billion years ago it shut down.

According to scientists, Mars once had an atmosphere very similar to Earth. The slow destruction of our neighbor’s planet atmosphere was caused by “huge rope-like tendrils of magnetic rotations”. The red planet’s once hospitable atmosphere was blown away in the distant past. The process of Mars losing its precious atmosphere most likely occurred over a period of several hundred million years. Scientists speculate that during this time, the red planet was hit by “extreme ultraviolet photons” from the sun. Before this happened, water was most likely abundant on the red planet and it is very likely that life as we know it could have developed on Mars.

Mars 4
A diagram of a magnetic shield to protect Mars from bombardment by solar particles.
NASA/Jim Green

It turns that over its long history, the red planet lost around 90 percent of its atmosphere. What remains today is carbon dioxide, while oxygen leaks from Mars’ atmosphere as solar winds strike the planet.

Without a ‘proper’ atmosphere, Mars would remain a dry, cold place where life is unable to exist. This represents the greatest difficulty facing future manned missions – which NASA plans to launch by 2030. Exposure to radiation and danger of dying from asphyxiation will be some of the dangers future Astronauts on Mars will face.

Now, in order to bring the red planet back to ‘life’, a group of scientists led by Dr. Jim Green, director of NASA’s Division of Planetary Science, have presented an ambitious plan. In essence, the proposal is to position a magnetic dipole at the Lagrange L1 point on Mars, generating an artificial “magneto-bridge” that would cover the entire planet and protect it from solar wind and radiation.

“It may be feasible that we can get up to these higher field strengths that are necessary to provide that shielding,” Green said. “We need to be able then to also modify that direction of the magnetic field so that it always pushes the solar wind away.”

Clever right?

Dr, Green and his colleagues are fully aware that they plan sounds easier than it actually is. Scientists argue that research on miniature magnetospheres (to shield crews and spacecraft) supports the concept, just on a larger scale.

“Perhaps one-seventh of the ancient ocean could return to Mars,” Green said.

“This is not terraforming as you may think of it where we actually artificially change the climate but we let nature do it, and we do that based on the physics we know today,” Green said. “This tells us that perhaps we don’t have all the physics in the model we need. We have a little more work in this area.”

Furthermore, scientists believe that this type of ‘shield’ could create a favorable environment that would help melt the water in Mars’ polar caps.

To test the idea, the team of researchers—who included scientists from the Ames Research Center, the Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Colorado, Princeton University, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory—conducted a series of simulations for the suggested artificial magnetosphere, reaching the conclusion that it would effectively counteract solar radiation and create a balance in the Martian atmosphere, increasing the average temperature of the planet to 4ºC.

The latter would be sufficient to melt the ice of carbon dioxide present in the polar caps of the northern hemisphere. As a consequence, there would be a greenhouse effect that would further heat the atmosphere.

As reported by Inverse, experts found that increasing the magnetic dipole would stop solar wind stripping. However, increasing the surface pressure doesn’t have a large effect on Mars’s global temperature and it increases dust in the atmosphere. But in some cases, the equator heats up and the polar caps collapse, causing CO2 ice caps grow and stabilizing Mars’ climate.

“The solar system is ours,” Green said. “Let’s take it. And that of course means Mars, and for humans to be able to explore Mars together with us doing science, we need a better environment.”


Planetary Science Vision 2050 workshop


An Artificial Magnetic Shield Could Make Mars Habitable (Again)

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    1. They know something about Earth that they’re not telling us, every indicator points to us looking for a place to relocate to. When they start talking about new technologies they are looking at, that’s NASA speak for we’ve been looking into this for the last 30 years. . . . . I want to know what they know about Earth that they’re trying so intensely to build us another home on Mars. . . . . .

      1. Curiosity and a sense of adventure are enough reason for most people to leave the familiar confines of their own neighborhood.

        Kids have a love of exploring and discovery that for some reason most lose when they reach adulthood. The ones who didn’t are the same ones who discovered the nice cozy area you live in.

        1. I’m glad you bring this up, because I’ve wondered for years why would we try to terraform Mars before we even try to make our own deserts habitable? I mean yeah I love that they are finally pushing towards Mars I think it’s great but there’s so many areas on our own planet that we could live with the tech they want to use on Mars and this planet could fit billions more people for a lot less money. We have machines that you stick in the Sahara sand and get gallons of water every day for free and for no effort and no moving parts. I am sure they know something is coming with Earth that they’re not telling us. I have read that top physicists are saying Earth won’t be habitable in 1000 years, but that information requires some digging. Why won’t it be habitable? What have we done to kill a planet in 1200 years that has been supporting life for 5 million years???? I’m thinking if there ever was a time that we needed a do-over, this might be the time. . . . .

          1. Or, perhaps they foresee that we just aint gonna go this far away with all those 15,000 nukes..

  1. Seems like a good plan!
    However the construction of such Planet Size Mega Structure its highly doubtful, who will pay for it? perhaps in a long long distant future when Earth has become inhabitable, and if we could not find better planets (which we had) and the means to reach them (we haven’t).

    But yeah!, its a cleaver plan.

  2. And all this…while at the same time, we do whatever ‘s humanely possible to destroy our ecosystem here on earth,multiply tenfolds our weapons of mass destruction, and increase the number of poor, starving and illiterate people in the process to extreme by means of neocons,neonazi euthanasian oriented policies . Such logic really surpasses me big time…

  3. That said? Any proof you may provide us with a useful link for further info?

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