In order to make Mars habitable, a NASA scientist has come up with a plan to encompass the Red Planet in a magnetic shield.
This, he claims, would safeguard the nascent atmosphere of the Red Planet from hazardous high-energy solar particles. Doing so would thus help protect early human settlers on Mars from the harsh radiation and vaccum of space.
This idea was germinated by Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division Director. He revealed his plan at a talk called A Future Mars Environment for Science and Exploration, held at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop at NASA's Washington headquarters.
Though the Martian atmosphere is thin, dry, cold and possesses reserves of frozen water, it is believed the planet once had a moderately hotter climate, along with deep liquid oceans, Green stated.
"He further said how launching the shield in space, between Mars and the Sun, could hypothetically shield the Red Planet in the extended magnetotail that trails behind the protective field," News Talk reported.
The Magnetotail refers to the wide elongated extension of the earth's magnetosphere on the side facing away from the Sun.
Mars L1 – Red Planet's stable orbit – is situated between the planet and the Sun, the magnetic shield would be launched in this very orbit.
Mars L1 comprises an enormous dipole, which is a closed electric circuit strong enough to generate an artificial magnetic field, a report by Popular Mechanics stated.
Simulation models reveal that the Red Planet could achieve half Earth's atmospheric pressure in a few years' time. Protected from the solar winds, the frosted carbon dioxide present at the polar caps of Mars would transform into gas. This would result in Mars' thin atmosphere thickening due to the greenhouse effect, which would turn the Red Planet warmer. This warmth would lead to the melting of the enormous amounts of ice present at the poles of the planet, creating oceans and other water bodies.