Mars doesn’t possess a global magnetic field to shield it from the extreme space weather. But, it does have parts of local, induced magnetism.
Recently, scientists succeeded in developing a fantastic, detailed map of the electric currents that influenced those magnetic fields.
Scientists’ Examined the Behaviour of the Magnetic Field Around Mars
Scientists’ new map of the electric currents around Mars gives them a better understanding of how interactions between winds and the Red Planet’s magnetosphere are playing out today. They can also find out how Mars might have lost much of its atmosphere.
The team of scientists utilized the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft to develop some fantastic visualizations from the captured magnetic readings. The hidden flows of energy can now be spotted in full color.
Planetary scientist Robin Ramstad explained: “These currents play a fundamental role in the atmospheric loss that transformed Mars from a world that could have supported life into an inhospitable desert.”
The scientists examined five years of data from MAVEN to develop the maps, which display electrical currents shaping a nested, double-loop formation around the Red Planet. These currents communicate with the incoming solar wind, causing it to wrap Mars and whirl around it.
Besides offering some incredible visualizations, the map of electric currents that the scientists have put together should also provide more details about how Mars’ atmosphere continues to get pulled away. There are still many questions about what happened to the Red Planet’s once busy atmosphere – and how one day, the planet can become habitable again.
Understanding the performance of the magnetic field around Mars could offer some significant clues about why its atmosphere is now so strange and different from Earth’s – and also from Venus, which also possesses an induced magnetosphere. MAVEN is expected to provide more essential data in the coming years.