Earths Magnetic Fields, Mars Fields, Life in the balance

When you compare the Earth’s magnetic fields with those of Mars you begin to understand why our planet is truly such a magic place. Life could be prolific in our universe but it takes a very special set of circumstances for it to thrive. In order for life to not just exist but to thrive some of the things it needs include right temperature, a source of food, energy, water, air, and the protection from radiation and solar winds that our magnetic field provides. You cannot underestimate how important this protection is. Our planets atmosphere is reliant on the electric dynamo that lives at the center of our planet. The spinning iron core generates a huge electric current which in turn creates our magnetic shield. Without it the solar winds would slowly scour  our atmosphere away until there was nothing left. Taking our water with it.

If you look at Mars you can see the end result. At one time Mars was more than a little Earth like. It had large amounts of liquid water, a thick atmosphere, clouds, and rain. If you saw Mars from space when it was at it’s peak you may have been hard pressed to see any differences from Earth today. At some point in the past the dynamo that powered a magnetic field around Mars shutdown. When this happened slowly but surely Mars started to die as this critical source of protection allowed the atmosphere and water to evaporate into the vacuum of space. Taking any chance of significant life with it. We see the end result now. If life in any complex form existed the chance for it to do more than survive, and thrive on Mars, disappeared with the protection of the magnetic fields when they shut down.

Today as you can see in this video the vibrant extensive magnetic fields which surround and protect Earth today are in stark contrast to those on Mars. Mars effectively has no magnetic fields to speak of. Remnants of magnetic variation on the surface are all that is left of what used to shield the planet. When you look at Mars now, and the effect of the loss of this one pillar needed to support life, you start to realize just how special our planet is.

 

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.