NASA is thinking about introducing an artificial magnetic field near Mars so that it can develop an atmosphere which would hopefully help Mars support life and liquid surface water in the future. If introduced, Mars could have an atmosphere with half the Earth’s atmospheric pressure within a few years and maybe, just maybe, you’ll start seeing friends and family, or even yourself, moving to Mars sooner than you thought.
Our Earth has a magnetic field that protects us from violent solar winds which would otherwise destroy our atmosphere, and consequently, us. Instead, our magnetic field shields us from the chaotic environment that lives outside our atmosphere. One of the ways that you can tell that our magnetic field is protecting us is by observing the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are due to the interaction of our atmosphere and the high energy particles flung at us by the Sun. The Earth’s magnetic field guides these high energy particles in spirals towards the poles of our planet and gives us these wonderful displays of different colorful patterns in the sky. The reaction between these high energy particles and the different gases in our atmosphere, like oxygen and nitrogen give off different colors. Here, our atmosphere protects us from the harmful particles.
Back in the day, Mars had a thicker atmosphere, significant amounts of water was warmer and wetter. Now, Mars is much colder and definitely drier. As a result, scientists are questioning whether life had existed on Mars in the early days of its life. The director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, James Green, thinks Mars could develop a wetter atmosphere and even liquid surface water if a magnetic field is reintroduced. Green showcased his simulations and models at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop at the NASA HQ in Washington. His work displayed ideas of how they could restore Mars’ atmosphere, so that, in the future humans could explore Mars easily and maybe even colonize the Red Planet.
The simulations portrayed a powerful closed electric circuit that was launched into orbit and placed in front of Mars. Electric currents produce magnetic fields. This closed electric circuit created a magnetic field which would deflect and redirect the high energy charged particles from the Sun away from Mars, so that Mars could develop a thicker atmosphere, without being destroyed by the violent solar wind. For optimum effect, the powerful electric circuit would be placed a distance of about 320 Mars radii…..More Here