Before sending any human to Mars, astronomers should study the Red Planet as much as possible. Any information about our neighboring planet can help humanity a lot, and the InSight lander sent there by NASA has been studying the planet’s magnetic fields along with other observations.
Oddly enough, the magnetic fields of Mars are behaving in a way that is amazing the scientists.
10 times stronger
In a specific place of the Red Planet, the magnetic field is 10 times stronger than scientists anticipated. The InSight lander from NASA gathered this data by using its magnetic sensor and exploring the planet for over twelve months (since November 2018).
The observations made by InSight are showing that our sun has an influence on the magnetic field from Mars. The solar wind assures the distribution of charged particles into the solar system. Mars doesn’t have a global magnetic field that can block solar storms as Earth does, therefore the particles are carrying an interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) that can influence the local magnetic field when it arrives into the Red Planet’s atmosphere.
Catherine Johnson is a professor at the University of British Columbia, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, and the lead author of the study that reveals the odd intensity of the magnetic field from Mars. She explained a bit what that huge magnetic field could mean:
The ground-level data give us a much more sensitive picture of magnetization over smaller areas, and where it’s coming from,
In addition to showing that the magnetic field at the landing site was ten times stronger than the satellites anticipated, the data implied it was coming from nearby sources.
Studies like this are showing us that we still have a lot to learn about Mars. Although the planet is seen as a great candidate for human colonization, it can be very dangerous for multiple reasons to go there.