Martian Magnetic Field Much Stronger than Expected: NASA InSight Lander Finds.

Share

One of NASA’s Two Mars Surface Probes Just Found the Martian Magnetic Field is 10 Times Stronger than We Thought.

Evidence is mounting that Mars could have supported life at one point. Of course, today, it’s dry, cold, and pretty inhospitable toward life as we know it. Scientists theorize that the red planet used to host liquid water and an atmosphere. Then the Martian magnetic field went away. Or at least that’s what we thought.

What’s Magnetism Got To Do With It?

If you want to build a habitable planet—at least for the type of carbon-based life we’re used to—you need a few things. We’ve already mentioned liquid water and an atmosphere of some type. It turns out, however, you also need a pretty strong magnetic field. Why? Radiation. That’s why. 

The sun bombards every celestial body within our heliosphere with a form of intense radiation known as solar wind. On Earth, the iron and other metals in our core produce a very strong magnetic field that deflects most of the sun’s energy. 

When Mars lost its magnetic field, scientists theorize that the solar wind stripped away most of the Martian atmosphere. Lacking an atmosphere makes sustaining liquid water and any possibility of life very difficult. Over the years, Mars dried out into the vast red desert wasteland we see today.

Watch InSight Land on Mars:

InSight’s New Discovery

Even though Mars’ magnetic field vanished, scientists knew there would still be some residual magnetism around the world. Now, however, thanks to data gathered from NASA’s InSight probe suggests that there is actually about ten times more magnetism on Mars than previously thought. 

InSight isn’t quite as well known as its counterpart, Curiosity. However, the probe is tasked with the first mission to collect this type of data about Mars. It landed toward the end of 2018 and began taking seismic readings. That made it the first-ever human probe to do so. The data from those readings allowed scientists to extrapolate measurements of the Martian magnetic field.

While their findings are surprising, the reality is Mars still doesn’t have nearly enough magnetism to fend off solar wind. Still, the data from InSight regarding the Martian magnetic field will help engineers plan for the upcoming manned missions to Mars. 

Researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience. You can read the paper here.

Read More:


Like Space Porn? We do, too. We’d love it if you’d support us in bringing you space news and entertainment on a regular basis. You can do that by either buying some merch from our Marketplace or by becoming a patron, which will get you some truly stellar perks.

Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *