Tech

NASA has a plan to create a magnetic field around Mars … No, really

Scientists at NASA propose a plan to generate a giant magnetic field around Mars to create the right conditions for human colonisation. No, it’s not a super-villain ploy from a comic book. It’s real.

Speaking at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop conference in Washington recently, James Green, NASA director for its Planetary Science Division, said their scientists were working on launching a device that can generate a magnetic field to shield the red planet from the harmful rays of the sun.

The said device would supposedly orbit between Mars and the sun, and it would be made out of a large electric circuit powerful enough to create the enormous, artificial magnetic field required.

Roughly 4.2 billion years ago, Mars used to have a thick atmosphere that allowed the planet to be covered by oceans, similar to Earth. This man-made magnetic field will help the planet regenerate its atmosphere over the course of a few years.

Once it has been restored, the subsequent greenhouse effect would heat up the planet, making it warm enough for water to exist in liquid form.

Green said that one-seventh of the ancient oceans could return to the currently dry and desolate planet.

“The solar system is ours, let’s take it,” he said. “That, of course, includes Mars and for humans to be able to explore Mars, together, with us doing science, we need a better environment.”

According to Wired, this is not the first proposal of its kind. Researchers from the National Institute for Fusion Science in Japan described in 2008 an idea to use superconducting magnets circling the planet to create a magnetic field.

Their paper says, “Here we show that a series of planet-encircling superconducting rings can provide an artificial geomagnetic field equivalent to 10 per cent of the present-day field necessary to prevent adverse effects.”

However, no further advances have been registered on the project since the publication of their paper nine years ago.