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NASA Proposes Giant Magnetic Shield to Protect Humans on Mars

NASA Proposes Giant Magnetic Shield to Protect Humans on Mars

Researchers at NASA proposed creating a giant magnetic shield around the planet that would create an atmosphere slightly more hospitable to humans, enabling our species to colonize it. But it might not have been always so.

The thicker, warmer atmosphere could release the frozen carbon dioxide in the Martian ice caps, leading to even more temperature increases from the greenhouse effect.

Speaking at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, one scientist proposed the enticing idea of launching a "magnetic shield" to a stable orbit between Mars and the sun, called Mars L1, that could shield the planet from high-energy solar particles.

According to Green, the artificial shield he envisages would consist of a large dipole, which is a close electric circuit powerful enough to generate an artificial magnetic field, "Popular Mechanics" reports.

Launching an "artificial magnetosphere" into space between Mars and the Sun could hypothetically shield the Red Planet in the extended magnetotail that trails behind the protective field, NASA's Planetary Science Division director Jim Green was quoted as saying.

The red planet owes its barren nature mostly to the loss of its magnetic field some 4.2 billion years ago, without that protection solar winds gradually took away what remained of its atmosphere. The researchers at the United States Space Agency think that a sufficiently high power magnetic shield if launched into space will be serving as a replacement for the Red Planet's magnetosphere that is lost.

Moreover, Mars ranks just behind Venus as the easiest planet to reach from Earth - although Venus' extreme conditions (such as a surface temperature of 462 °C; 863 °F) likely preclude it from ever hosting human life.

Scientists have mulled on the idea of injecting planet-warming gases into the Red Planet's thin atmosphere. It could also help terraform the Martian environment so that liquid water can flow on its surface again.

"If this can be achieved in a lifetime, the colonisation of Mars would not be far away". In a plan some say is "so insane it just might work", the shield (maybe an inflatable one) would be placed at the L1 Lagrange Point.

Near the end of NASA's paper, they used the term "fanciful" to describe how this new project may appear but point to the fact that current magnetosphere research is already being done so that scientists will be able to better understand how to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation.

Should all these things happen as predicted, the exploration and colonization of Mars may become a reality within a few hundred years.

NASA scientists have proposed a unique strategy to regain Mars' early wetter atmosphere.

"The solar system is ours, let's take it". Green argued, would allow for human explorers to study the planet in much greater detail, and help determine its habitability, since numerous elements that pointed towards Mars being habitable in the past would slowly seep back into and onto the planet's environment.

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