Midnight In The Desert — magnetic field

What Really Happens When Earth’s Magnetic Field Flips?

Posted by K R on

What Really Happens When Earth’s Magnetic Field Flips?

Many times over our planet’s history, Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed, meaning that sometimes a compass pointing north will be aimed at Antarctica rather than the Arctic. This might sound strange, but it’s a relatively predictable quirk. Powered by the machinations of the planet’s spinning iron core, this process of geomagnetic reversal has been doing its thing without much fanfare for eons. That is, until this week, when a book excerpt describing the phenomenon appeared online. Shortly afterward, numerous websites began trumpeting the doomsday around the corner, a geomagnetic apocalypse in which tumors run rampant, satellites fall from the sky,...

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Van Allen probes catch rare glimpse of supercharged radiation belt

Posted by K R on

Van Allen probes catch rare glimpse of supercharged radiation belt

Our planet is nestled in the center of two immense, concentric doughnuts of powerful radiation: the Van Allen radiation belts, which harbor swarms of charged particles that are trapped by Earth's magnetic field. On March 17, 2015, an interplanetary shock - a shockwave created by the driving force of a coronal mass ejection, or CME, from the sun - struck Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, triggering the greatest geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade. And NASA's Van Allen Probes were there to watch the effects on the radiation belts. One of the most common forms of space weather, a...

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Do humans have a 'sixth sense'? Scientist claims we can detect Earth's magnetic fields

Posted by K R on

Do humans have a 'sixth sense'? Scientist claims we can detect Earth's magnetic fields

A US scientist has claimed to have found evidence of a "sixth sense" in humans that can detect the Earth's magnetic fields. Joe Kirschvink, from the California Institute of Technology, says his experiment can also be "repeated and verified", something research on magnetoreception has never been able to do before. The trial, which involved just 24 people and has not yet been peer reviewed, builds on a 2016 study that suggested other mammals, including dogs, foxes and primates have "magnetic sensors" in their eyes. This previous research, undertaken by the Max Planck Institute and published in Nature Scientific Reports, found...

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NASA Wants to Build a Magnetic Force Field and a Deep Sleep Chamber For Astronauts on Mars

Posted by K R on

NASA Wants to Build a Magnetic Force Field and a Deep Sleep Chamber For Astronauts on Mars

A self-assembling space habitat, a deep sleep chamber to shuttle astronauts on long journeys, and a protective magnetic force field are the latest projects NASA is embarking on. NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) Program is responsible for funding futuristic space concepts that could, as NASA puts it, “change the possible.” It’s not enough to merely be a cool concept, though—projects are also screened for technical plausibility. In its latest round of funding, NIAC’s Phase II program has selected eight projects to move ahead. Among the most promising ones are three focusing on how to build livable future habitats in space....

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Earth's Magnetic Field is Not About to Flip, Like Previously Thought

Posted by K R on

Earth's Magnetic Field is Not About to Flip, Like Previously Thought

Earth's magnetic field is not about to flip. While the intensity of this field has weakened in the last couple hundred of years, researchers have found that this doesn't mean it's about to reverse. Humans have lived through dips in magnetic field intensity before. However, there are debates about whether reversals of the magnetic field in the distant past had any connection to species extinctions. Today, a magnetic field reversal would have a huge impact due to one very important thing: technology. The magnetic field deflects the solar wind and cosmic rays. This means that with a weaker field, more...

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