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Earth’s magnetic field protects us from deadly space radiation. What if it were drastically weakened, as a precursor to flipping upside down? I mean, it has before … many, many times..
Hosted by Matt O'Dowd
Written by Matt O'Dowd
Graphics by Leonardo Scholzer
Directed by: Andrew Kornhaber
Produced By: Kornhaber Brown
Spaceship Earth has a literal deflector shield. A geomagnetic field. Lines of magnetic force, forged by currents in the planet’s molten core, erupt from the surface close to the north south geographic poles, connecting to each other to wreath the planet in a dipole field, like a gigantic bar magnet. Magnetic fields exert a force on moving charged particles, causing them to spiral around those force lines. That’s helpful, because Earth is constantly bombarded by very fast moving charged particles, especially coming from the Sun. Our magnetic field deflects the worst of these. Not all planets are so lucky. Mars, with its solid core, has no such shield – and so the red planet’s atmosphere was stripped away by the solar wind billions of years ago.
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