Tag Archives: magnetic field

MAVEN: Mars has a twisted magnetotail

Mars has an invisible magnetic “tail” that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from MAVEN. MAVEN is in orbit around Mars gathering data on how the Red Planet lost much of its … Continue reading

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Mars ionosphere shaped by crustal magnetic fields

Scattered pockets of magnetism across the surface of Mars have a significant influence on the planet’s upper atmosphere, according to observations from ESA’s Mars Express. Understanding these effects may be crucial for ensuring safe radio communications between Mars and Earth … Continue reading

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Did big impacts turn off Mars’ dynamo?

Several giant impact basins on Mars have ages that suggest they formed at about the same time that the planet’s global magnetic field disappeared. Is it coincidence or is there a connection? While not claiming a direct causal connection, geophysicists … Continue reading

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Mars’ explosive childhood

Mars is widely understood to be a volcanic planet — its surface shows abundant evidence of volcanic activity, both ancient and more recent. Spacecraft detect lava flows in many locations, and spectroscopic evidence of volcanic rocks lies almost everywhere. The … Continue reading

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When did the Martian dynamo die?

Current thinking among Mars scientists holds that the Red Planet’s dynamo — the geo-engine in its molten core which generates a global magnetic field — was active soon after the planet formed, but turned off about 4 billion years ago. … Continue reading

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What turned off the Martian magnetic field?

For roughly the first 500 to 800 million years of its existence, Mars had a magnetic field generated by a natural internal dynamo. This was powered by convection currents in the planet’s molten iron core, which operated vigorously as they … Continue reading

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Did big impacts disrupt heat flow in the Martian mantle?

Mars shows more than 20 impact basins with diameters of at least 1,000 kilometers (600 miles), and five of these are 2,500 km wide or larger. Based on crater counts, most of the basins appear to have occurred between in … Continue reading

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Early Martian surface radiation not too strong for life

During the Noachian period (about 4.5 to 3.5 billion years ago), the Martian atmosphere was substantially thicker than it is currently, and the planet had a magnetosphere with a surface field strength about as strong as Earth’s today. Both factors … Continue reading

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