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# Magnetic Field of planets and stars.

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Instead of using combustion to send space shuttles out of the atmosphere, why are we not using a strong repelling magnetic force to repel into space.

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What do you mean by using a strong repelling magnetic force instead. Could you explain this a bit more?

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Well Earth has a magnetic field caused by the core of the earth. If I take two magnets north and north they will repel against one another. Why can’t we use this same method of repulsion to repel into space.

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Could we put a large north facing magnet on the South Pole to see it rise

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Hopefully someone can tell me why this is not possible

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5 minutes ago, Titus Maximus said:

Well Earth has a magnetic field caused by the core of the earth. If I take two magnets north and north they will repel against one another. Why can’t we use this same method of repulsion to repel into space.

Well, I'm certainly no Mrs Einstein. But I would imagine that it would take quite a bit of thrust (like combustion) to send a space shuttle or rocket into space. I doubt that a big magnet placed under a rocket etc...that repels against the earths magnetic field would work so well. Doesn't our strong gravity have something to do with why we need so much enormous combustion power to properly lift a rocket off the ground and send it into space?

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6 minutes ago, Titus Maximus said:

Hopefully someone can tell me why this is not possible

Well, there are a few science geeks and mathematical minded folk here on these boards. Maybe one of them could pop on by and explain things in more detail in how the dynamics of rocket combustion, earths magnetic field, and gravity etc works when it comes to lifting a rocket. I'm sure there would also be something on the NASA website that could help too.

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1 hour ago, Titus Maximus said:

Instead of using combustion to send space shuttles out of the atmosphere, why are we not using a strong repelling magnetic force to repel into space.

This may help

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Khol's link pretty much covers it, esp the answer by Tidalwave...

In summary, earth's magnetic field is way, way too weak (it can barely move a compass needle...!), and added to that, magnetic field strength drops away over distance much faster than gravity*...

* Gravity and electric fields decrease according to distance by an 'inverse square' rule ie 1/d2.  Magnetic fields do not - they decrease by the inverse cube (1/d3) or more...  It's *complicated*!!

The possibility of magnetic drive launches (eg rail guns) has been looked at by NASA and others, but the power requirements are just too great, even assuming high efficiency.  Plus there are other problems, eg the intense magnetic fields can damage a lot of things...

Edited by ChrLzs
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It’s great to see such quick feed back, and this is just one part of what I really want to get to the bottom off.. I’ve been wondering if magnetic levitation is at all possible. If two like poles are facing each other in a concealed environment leaving no room for the magnets to repel what happens then..? I know the magnets can flip and become neutral. What if the magnets are locked into place and have no where else to go ? Pushing on both sides of the concealed object depending on the altitude they are started at would they simply remain the same altitude.

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Hi Titus   Here is another couple interesting links on the subject

Im sure ChrLz and many others can help with any finer details .Its an interesting technology and definitely has its applications

Edited by khol
added link

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I’ve been reading the links your sent to me but none of them really explain what I’m asking, imagine a shape of a Flying Saucer from above, it would be round so could there be a rail that circulates the entire body holding in opposing magnets that are facing one another, allowing spin of the magnets around the ship. I can also imagine a sphere in the centre maybe above the line between the opposing magnets but the bottom of the sphere being an attractive magnet, so to simply go up the pilot could turn on the sphere and the magnets below would try to face upwards to attach the sphere magnet above. Yet that wouldn’t be possible because the magnets are locked solidly into the rail only being able to spin back and forth around the body of the UFO. Kind of like putting a carrot on a harness dangling it in front of a rabbit.

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4 hours ago, Titus Maximus said:

I’ve been reading the links your sent to me but none of them really explain what I’m asking, imagine a shape of a Flying Saucer from above, it would be round so could there be a rail that circulates the entire body holding in opposing magnets that are facing one another, allowing spin of the magnets around the ship. I can also imagine a sphere in the centre maybe above the line between the opposing magnets but the bottom of the sphere being an attractive magnet, so to simply go up the pilot could turn on the sphere and the magnets below would try to face upwards to attach the sphere magnet above. Yet that wouldn’t be possible because the magnets are locked solidly into the rail only being able to spin back and forth around the body of the UFO. Kind of like putting a carrot on a harness dangling it in front of a rabbit.

You've spotted the problem...  there's no free lunch, and magnetic fields are not all that common out in space, nor are they strong, and they drop off drastically with distance.

It's a bit like the 'slingshot' effect that space agencies use to gain a bit of speed as spacecraft pass by large massive objects - the spacecraft gains some momentum via the maneuver but the planet loses some, and it is only a useful process where there are very intense gravitational fields, eg around Jupiter, Saturn...

If you are just trying to use existing magnetic fields in space, the field strength is nowhere near enough to be useful except perhaps for a bit of maneuvering if you are near a planet with a strong magnetic field.  If you carry your own magnet as the source of the magnetic field, that doesn't really help at all - it's the same reason perpetual motion and 'free energy' devices don't exist - you can't carry your force field along with you.

So, to summarise, magnetic levitation works, but it's really only useful when you can build/use infrastructure that runs all the way to your destination (like a maglev railway) and only when the magnets/fields are very strong and in close proximity.  In space... none of those apply.

Edited by ChrLzs
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I've read about the idea of using a linear accelerator (railgun) to launch craft. I think this idea would work well on the moon.

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And helium rises.. but it can’t be reclaimed where does it go ? where does it come from.. when a helium balloon pops apparently it thins out into air or does it keep rising into space among the atmosphere because it defies gravity it’s self. I’m sure it wouldn’t be able to be reclaimed once it has left the atmosphere because it would rise to where we can not reach. How dense can helium be compressed and with a better structure of containing the helium could we use that and thrusters. After doing that and raising a magnetic Tesla shuttle with a nuclear drive switching it on as it reaches among the atmosphere.

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53 minutes ago, Titus Maximus said:

And helium rises.. but it can’t be reclaimed where does it go ? where does it come from.. when a helium balloon pops apparently it thins out into air or does it keep rising into space among the atmosphere because it defies gravity it’s self. I’m sure it wouldn’t be able to be reclaimed once it has left the atmosphere because it would rise to where we can not reach. How dense can helium be compressed and with a better structure of containing the helium could we use that and thrusters. After doing that and raising a magnetic Tesla shuttle with a nuclear drive switching it on as it reaches above the atmosphere.

A minor point of interest - I'd bet most helium balloons don't pop, they just slowly decrease in size as the helium escapes...  Helium is very good at that, as its atoms are the second tiniest of any substance.. so it migrates pretty easily through most substances..  Anyway, helium does have weight, it's just a lot lighter than oxygen/nitrogen, hence it floats upwards.  So it's not anti-gravity or defying gravity, just doing what lighter things always do...  It floats to the uppermost layers of the atmosphere, where some is simply lost to space.  Again, as it is a tiny atom, it would be very hard to 'mine' from the atmosphere...

So the lightness of helium only helps to a point, and frankly, it ain't all that light.  See the mythbusters episode where they lifted a small person - it took a LOT of balloons.

Using reactive substances like Hydrogen and Oxygen combustion is a much, much more efficient way to get the energy needed to get off our planet.

In order to come up with alternatives like this, you really need to do your homework on the amount of potential energy that might be available from each one.  Needless to say, other scientists will have thought of most of the 'obvious' ones, and they have discarded them (mostly long ago) with good reason - they just don't add up..

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8 hours ago, ChrLzs said:

Needless to say, other scientists will have thought of most of the 'obvious' ones, and they have discarded them (mostly long ago) with good reason - they just don't add up..

In his novel "The First Men in the Moon", published in 1900, H.G. Wells has a professor explaining why using the repulsion of the Earth's magnetic field won't work. Basically (as you point out) gravity is far stronger, and it would be impossible to make magnets light enough for the repulsive magnetic force to overcome the attractive gravitational force. However, the professor has come up with a material called "cavorite", which negates gravity! I love science fiction like that - real science mixed with fantasy science!

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50 minutes ago, Derek Willis said:

gravity is far stronger

I apologise in advance as I am going to be very pedantic here... the gravitational field of the earth is far stronger than the magnetic field of the earth, it's not quite the same thing.

Gravity is actually a weaker force tan magnetism... it's just that there is an awful lot of it.

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1 hour ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

I apologise in advance as I am going to be very pedantic here... the gravitational field of the earth is far stronger than the magnetic field of the earth, it's not quite the same thing.

Gravity is actually a weaker force tan magnetism... it's just that there is an awful lot of it.

Do you know, I was going to point that out. But as we are talking specifically in terms of the Earth's magnetic field and gravitational field, I didn't bother. But yes, it was worth you pointing it out to avoid any confusion.

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