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Martian Core Solidification May Lead to Stronger Magnetic Field

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posted on May, 31 2007 @ 02:27 PM
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Hundreds of miles below, however, a molten sea of iron, nickel and sulfur churns. And new research suggests the gooey core will eventually solidify-either from the outside-in, forming an iron-nickel core, or from the inside out, forming a core of a fool's-gold-like minerals.

Andrew Stewart, a planetary geochemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said Mars' cooling core might restore magnetism to the red planet. "If liquid metal moves around a solid core, it could create a natural dynamo like the one found in Earth's core,".


SOURCE:
Space.com


This is very cool, if it turns out to be correct, which is likely it would mean that eventually
Mars will be able to contain an atmosphere again that would be able to be permanent
(not infinitely, but on life scales), thusly allowing for the possibility of life, or more likely
more successful Terraforming.


Comments, Opinions?



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 02:37 PM
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I thought it was Mars 1/3 Earth gravity that lost its tenuous grip on the atmosphere (so the theory goes), not the collapse of its ancient magnetic field... so I don't know how Mars re-establishing it's magnetosphere would help "bottle-up" and contain any new out-gassings, but I'm no astrophysicist....


It sure would help shield astronauts from solar and cosmic radiation and make things easier to accomplish should we decide to terraform though.


Nice find!!! First time I've heard of this.

sp edit

[edit on 31-5-2007 by Stale Cracker]



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 02:42 PM
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Originally posted by Stale Cracker
I thought it was Mars 1/3 Earth gravity that lost its tenuous grip on the atmosphere (so the theory goes), not the collapse of its ancient magnetic field... so I don't know how Mars re-establishing it's magnetosphere would help "bottle-up" and contain any new out-gassings, but I'm no astrophysicist....



No, the Martian gravity was not the cause for it's atmospheric loss.

Without a strong enough Magnetic field to protect it solar wind and the radiation of
space eroded the atmosphere, which over time diminished to the point it is at now.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 04:12 PM
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Well the observable facts suggest otherwise. Our moon once had widespread magma activity and a magnetic field. The moon is no longer volcanically active and no longer has a magnetic field.

Mars once had a strong magnetic field and much more volcanic activity, but appears to be volcanically much quieter now. It has lost it's former magnetic field.

The evidence would suggest that the solidification of a planet's core, probably through cooling, leads to loss of the molten dynamo which creates a magnetic field.

[edit on 31-5-2007 by sy.gunson]



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by sy.gunson
The evidence would suggest that the solidification of a planet's core, probably through cooling, leads to loss of the molten dynamo which creates a magnetic field.


You are correct, if the entire core became solid, a geodynamo would not be able to
produce a Magnetic field.

What they are saying here, and mind you I had to re-read it twice to get it,
is that the inner core is solidifying, but a liquid metal layer will surround it, which will form
a geodynamo producing a stronger Magnetic field.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 08:47 PM
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I've heard before that there is really no reason to restart the magnet field anyway. The rate at which a new atmosphere would decay would be slow enough not to matter to any people living there. The most realistic ideas for terraforming I've heard have called for just pumping up the atmosphere's thickness to increase air pressure on the surface. That way plants can thrive in the carbon monoxide and people can simply wear gas-masks instead of full on pressure suits.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 08:55 PM
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Originally posted by Langolier
I've heard before that there is really no reason to restart the magnet field anyway. The rate at which a new atmosphere would decay would be slow enough not to matter to any people living there. The most realistic ideas for terraforming I've heard have called for just pumping up the atmosphere's thickness to increase air pressure on the surface. That way plants can thrive in the carbon monoxide and people can simply wear gas-masks instead of full on pressure suits.


Without a magnetic field the solar wind would strip away the atmosphere, apart from that
the surface would be bombarded with a massive amount of radiation that the Magnetic field
protects from.

If you had massive machines pumping out atmosphere constantly, than yes you could keep
the atmosphere stable, but as it is that is unlikely to happen.



posted on May, 31 2007 @ 09:00 PM
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What is the actual rate of decay though? The martian atmosphere seems stable enough now, even if it is still decaying. As for the radiation, it isn't more than we can deal with. I'm scientist or any kind of authority on the matter, ofcourse, but wouldn't a thicker atmosphere help limit some of the radiation itself?



posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 12:00 AM
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Originally posted by Langolier
The martian atmosphere seems stable enough now, even if it is still decaying.


If the Martian atmosphere proves to be stable at the level it is now, it is because there is
a source that is continuing to put the small amount of chemicals into it that it has,
which could be extremely long lasting geologic activity or Martian microbial life.




As for the radiation, it isn't more than we can deal with. I'm scientist or any kind of authority on the matter, ofcourse, but wouldn't a thicker atmosphere help limit some of the radiation itself?


While a thick atmosphere does act as a layer of protection against radiation (that's
why protecting the Ozone layer is so important), it would not be enough to protect an unprotected
and/or unaugmented human, yes you could stand outside for a few minutes,
but you could'nt spend as much time outside as you would on Earth.



posted on Jun, 2 2007 @ 10:12 PM
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The solar wind strips the atmosphere away very slowly. It would be easy to maintain a 1 atm atmosphere. Also most radiation would be absorbed by the atmosphere. You would just have to constantly monitor space weather for solar storms and gamma ray bursts etc and go inside when one hits.



posted on Jun, 2 2007 @ 11:23 PM
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I was browsing Space.com's forum a few minutes ago and came across this article:

www.space.com...


Excerpt

Extrapolating this measurement back over 3.5 billion years, they estimate that only a small fraction, 0.2 to 4 millibars, of carbon dioxide and a few centimeters of water could have been lost to solar winds during that timeframe. (A bar is a unit for measuring pressure; Earth's atmospheric pressure is about 1 bar.)


If this is the case then I am quite curious as to what could cause Mars to cool so drastically and as a consequence loose it's atmosphere (or 'hide' it). Perhaps a large meteor impact? Once again, I'm just a layman.



posted on Jun, 3 2007 @ 12:10 AM
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Originally posted by Langolier
If this is the case then I am quite curious as to what could cause Mars to cool so drastically and as a consequence loose it's atmosphere (or 'hide' it). Perhaps a large meteor impact? Once again, I'm just a layman.


A meteor impact is a possibility.

It could also have been from Olympus Mons becoming a Hyper Volcano (think Yellowstone
on super steroids, creating a blast equal to that of a meteor strike, it could also have
been a massive CME hitting Mars, stripping away it's unprotected atmosphere and
hydrosphere, and turning the rest into ice from void exposure.



posted on Jun, 3 2007 @ 04:04 PM
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I wonder then that if said catastrophe had not come to pass if today we might call Mars the "green" or "blue" planet. If Mars was truly this hospitable in its past and only is in its current state due to bad luck of the draw then I wonder what the chances are that multiple life-bearing-planet solar systems are common?



posted on Jun, 3 2007 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by Langolier
I wonder then that if said catastrophe had not come to pass if today we might call Mars the "green" or "blue" planet. If Mars was truly this hospitable in its past and only is in its current state due to bad luck of the draw then I wonder what the chances are that multiple life-bearing-planet solar systems are common?



Well I'm willing to bet that life is quite abundant, and that most solar systems have
more than one world with life, though not like two terrestrial planets in the habitable zone kind of life.

Personally I think that microbial life exists in multiple places in our own Solar System.



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