IS THE EARTH CHANGING?
A growing dent in Earth’s magnetic field could impact satellites and spacecraft
A growing dent in Earth’s magnetic field over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean could pose a risk to spacecraft and satellites.
This evolving weak spot in the magnetic field, called the South Atlantic Anomaly, is being monitored by NASA,
But the space agency said it will not affect us here on Earth.
The magnetic field protects us, acting as a shield against the solar wind — stream of charged particles and radiation,
That flows out from the sun. This field’s protection also extends to include satellites orbiting close to Earth.
But the South Atlantic Anomaly is allowing solar particles to get closer than before.
Solar radiation could have a negative effect as satellites pass through this area,
Knocking out their computers and interfering with data collection, according to NASA.
IS THE EARTH CHANGING? MAGNETIC FIELD MAYBE
Earth’s magnetic field protects our planet from an outflow of charged particles and radiation that stream out from the sun.
The South Atlantic Anomaly, new data has also shown, is weakening and expanding westward.
Moreover, it’s splitting into two lobes, rather than one large one, which will cause further headaches for managing satellite missions.
Across a host of research areas, NASA scientists are monitoring the anomaly to prepare for those challenges, as well as how it could affect humans in space.
Earth scientists at NASA are also monitoring the anomaly to see how these localized changes in the strength of the magnetic field could affect our atmosphere.