The only way to sustain long-term human presence in Mars is to bet on the terraforming. There are important requirements to get it. Now, scientists have proposed an optimal and novel solution. The recent study has been published in the journal Acta Astronautica, edited by Ruth Bamford of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK.
The team of researchers proposes a plan to turn the red planet into a “second Earth” by awarding it a artificial magnetic field that protects it from the solar wind and ionizing particles (gamma and alpha rays, for example). Although early Mars had a water-rich atmosphere, it wore out because it did not have a strong magnetic shield.
The terraforming is not going to be possible in a short time. Adapting the climate, the surface and ensuring the sustainability of Mars with the aim of making it habitable for humans is a long-term job; however, it will depend on technological advances. First, the planet must be warmed from -60 ° C to 15 ° C, only then will a thick CO2 atmosphere be recreated in 100 years.
Second, it will ensure that the levels of oxygen allow living beings sent to the fourth planet of the solar system to breathe. Finally, the next phase of oxygenation could last up to 100,000 years, according to estimates from the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop (NASA).
Unlike Mars, our magnetic field has characteristics that are difficult to imitate: it is generated by the movement of cast iron alloys on Earth. The interior of the red planet is colder and smaller, so the creation of an artificial one with rings of particles charged by Phobos, one of its moons, would be considered.
Phobos is the largest satellite that orbits Mars. With an orbit at 6,000 kilometers in relation to the Martian surface, it is estimated that it is the closest moon to a planet Of the solar system. Your future could be crashing into Red planet or form a ring that dances around him.
Experts propose to accelerate the particles on the surface of Phobos to create a magnetic field. This is still in a hypothetical stage, but the time to resolve the main difficulties is already beginning. Will it be possible to complete the challenge of terraforming? Will the oxygen problem be solved?
“The principles explored here are also applicable to smaller-scale objects such as manned spacecraft, space stations or lunar bases, which would benefit from the creation of protective minimagnetospheres,” the researchers conclude.