The Western Lines

April 26, 2010

The Coming Magnetic Storm

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present a scenario the sounds like the central plot of a Sci-Fi blockbuster motion picture. Deep within the core of our planet, where the constant spin of Earth’s liquid metallic core generates an invisible magnetic force field that shields our planet from harmful radiation in space, something has affected the spin of this planetary dynamo and has slowed it down and there are signs that it may shut it down completely.


Gradually, the field is growing weaker. Electrical and electronic devices suddenly shut down and people with pacemakers suddenly and inexplicably drop dead, flocks of pigeons lose their ability to navigate in seemingly lose their way and circle aimlessly above skies of Trafalgar Square and begin crashing into buildings, parked cars and people. Countless pods of whales and other aquatic mammals beach themselves. Navigational devices go awry effecting cargo ships, passenger aircraft, telecommunications satellites and computers on NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour sending it far off course and forcing the its Astronauts to land in the Los Angeles River basin .


Is there a factual basis for such a plot line? Could we be heading for a demagnetized doomsday that will leave us defenseless against the lethal effects of solar wind and cosmic rays? Today’s documentary “Magnetic Storm” takes a close scientific look at such a horrific scenario.

Scientists studying the problem are looking everywhere from Mars, which suffered a magnetic crisis four billion years ago and has been devoid of a magnetic field, an appreciable atmosphere, and possibly life ever since, to a laboratory at the University of Maryland, where a team headed by physicist Dan Lathrop has re-created the molten iron dynamo at Earth’s core by using 240 pounds of highly explosive molten sodium. The most visible signs of Earth’s magnetic field are auroras, which are caused by charged particles from space interacting with the atmosphere as they flow into the north and south magnetic poles.

Magnetic Storm

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-7231377053339520174&hl=en&fs=true


You can watch the Motion Picture The Core via Goggle Video.


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