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Huge magnetic tail discovered behind Mars

Posted on Sunday, 22 October, 2017 | Comment icon 8 comments

An artist's impression of the Red Planet's tail. Image Credit: Anil Rao/Univ. of Colorado/MAVEN/NASA GSFC
NASA scientists have revealed the existence of an invisible magnetic tail trailing behind the Red Planet.
Discovered by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft, the unusual phenomenon is thought to have been caused by the effects of the solar winds and could help to shine more light on how the Martian atmosphere escaped in to space.

"We found that Mars' magnetic tail, or magnetotail, is unique in the Solar System," said NASA scientist Gina DiBraccio. "It's not like the magnetotail found at Venus, a planet with no magnetic field of its own, nor is it like Earth's, which is surrounded by its own internally generated magnetic field."

"Instead, it is a hybrid between the two."

When the solar winds, which carry their own magnetic fields, hit a region of Mars with a magnetic field oriented in the opposite direction it causes an effect known as magnetic reconnection.

"Our model predicted that magnetic reconnection will cause the Martian magnetotail to twist 45 degrees from what's expected based on the direction of the magnetic field carried by the solar wind," said DiBraccio.

"When we compared those predictions to MAVEN data on the directions of the Martian and solar wind magnetic fields, they were in very good agreement."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (8)

Tags: Mars, Magnetic Field

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seanjo on 22 October, 2017, 12:57
A cold metal heart maybe.
Comment icon #2 Posted by UFOwatcher on 22 October, 2017, 17:06
I find this very interesting. Perhaps at one time it was much stronger?
Comment icon #3 Posted by lyntwo on 22 October, 2017, 17:30
Refer to the You Tube series, The Electric Universe, and, Thunderbolts Project. Our universe is electric, our solar is also, there being a constant interplay of electric flow and charges amongst the sun and planets and objects entering our solar system. We are still learning how it all works but NASA is being disingenuous about their understanding of this.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Parsec on 22 October, 2017, 18:11
We can't expect less from the god of war, I suppose.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Parsec on 22 October, 2017, 18:17
Would that magnetotail be of any use for shielding from radiation? If that'd be the case, maybe we could place the Lockheed and Martin space station in a geostationary orbit within that area, possibly with a satellite helping for communication with Earth.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 23 October, 2017, 18:38
A geostationary orbit (or in the case of Mars an areostationary orbit) wouldn't help. Such an orbit keeps the satellite (or space station) above a single point on Mars. The magnetic tail streams away from Mars in the opposite direction to the Sun, so a station in areostationary orbit would sweep through the tail once every Martian day and spend most of it;s time outside of it. What is needed is an orbit which keeps the station directly behind Mars in relation to the sun. Such an orbit exists, it is a halo orbit around the 2nd Sun-Mars Lagrangian point (known as L2). The problem with this is th... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Parsec on 23 October, 2017, 18:51
Spot on Waspie thank you for the correction, I didn't think it through. Silly me!
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer on 24 October, 2017, 14:01
With this revelation, I can't decide which is more interesting to explore first, the cause of Mars' magneto tail or the recently discovered cave of the Moon.

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