NASA Scientist Plans To Launch A Giant Magnetic Shield Around Mars To Make It Habitable

First Posted: Mar 07, 2017 03:00 AM EST

A NASA scientist proposes a plan of launching a giant magnetic shield around Mars to make it potentially habitable. The magnetic shield could protect the planet Mars from high-energy solar particles. This could shield the astronomers and humans that will explore the Red Planet in the future.

Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, spoke at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The talk is titled A Future Mars Environment for Science and Exploration. 

Green said that although Mars is an arid and cold world with a very thin atmosphere and frozen water resources, it is thought the planet could once have had deep, liquid oceans and a warmer climate. He further said how launching the shield in the space between Mars and the Sun could hypothetically shield the Red Planet in the extended magnetotail that trails behind the protective field, according to News Talk.

The "magnetic shield" will be launched in a stable orbit between Mars and the Sun, which is referred to as Mars L1. The shield consists of a large dipole, which is a closed circuit powerful enough to produce an artificial magnetic field. It could make Mars protected by the magnetotail of the magnetic field generated by the object. This could restore gradually the Mars' atmosphere, according to Popular Mechanics.

The shield could also help Mars attain half the atmospheric pressure of Earth in just years, according to simulation models. The frozen CO2 at Mars' polar ice caps would start to transfer into gas from a solid with the protection from solar winds. Then, the greenhouse effect will fill the thin atmosphere of Mars and warm the planet particularly the equator, in which the huge amount of ice is stored under the poles will melt and flood the world with water.

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