About 4.2 billion years ago, Mars lost the magnetosphere that protects it from solar radiation. Scientists believe that the solar wind stripped away most of the Red Planet's atmosphere after its magnetosphere disappeared, which now leaves a barren world.
But on Earth, the magnetosphere is still alive and protecting the world from the fury of the Sun by deflecting most of the solar material that sweeps towards Earth. Without a magnetosphere, the planet might experience the same fate as Mars.
However, a new study suggests that it would not be able to protect from the death of the Sun. Solar winds will only get stronger as it gets nearer its death, which could eradicate all life on Earth.
The study, titled "Planetary magnetosphere evolution around post-main-sequence stars," is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,
Life on Earth During the Sun's Death
Scientists have already mapped the life cycle of the Sun. When it runs out of hydrogen to fuel the nuclear fusion at its core, the Sun will contract and heat up that will send Solar flares throughout the Solar System that will potentially swallow Earth.
According to Universe Today, the Sun will create a powerful and fluctuating solar wind during its red giant phase that even the magnetosphere can no longer protect Earth. Even when the planet starts to move farther away from the Sun due to a decrease in gravity, the constant bombarding of solar wind to Earth will strip away its magnetosphere, and the likelihood of any life form surviving will diminish.
The habitable zone near the Sun will be farther, pushing away past the orbit of Neptune. Sadly, the slow orbital path of Earth will not allow it to get there before all life is dead.
To survive the red giant phase, a planet's magnetosphere must be 100 times stronger than Jupiter's, and it must be able to move quickly in habitable zones, according to the models of the researchers. Simulations of 11 different solar winds showed that any planet with a similar magnetosphere as Earth would likely die.
As reported by Space.com, the extreme conditions during the Sun's death will eradicate all life on the planet. But the study noted that new life could spring from the ashes of the old once the Sun shrivels into a white dwarf who does not release solar winds.
But the Sun's death will happen billions of years from now, which means humans have a lot more time to come up with technological defense strategies to save the planet.
Earth's Magnetosphere Provides Protection
According to NASA, the magnetosphere is Earth's natural shield from harmful solar winds that periodically hits the planet. When the Sun's magnetic field connecting to Earth's, it creates a rift that pours energy into the planet's haven in a form of geomagnetic storms and substorms.
Magnetic energy and charged particles fly off at intense speeds when magnetic lines converge and reconfigure. Scientists have been trying to learn the magnetic reconnection that triggers violent explosions that open rifts into the magnetosphere to help unravel the fundamental physics of space and improve space weather forecasting.
Understanding the magnetosphere is the key to helping scientists one day to predict space weather to help Earth's technology that could be disrupted by extreme space weather events, such as solar winds.
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