According to a new study published in Nature Physics, the third protective belt around Earth is created by a weird space tsunami.
“Remarkably, we observed huge plasma waves,” said Ian Mann, physics professor at the University of Alberta, lead author of the study and former Canada Research Chair in Space Physics, in a statement.
“Rather like a space tsunami, they slosh the radiation belts around and very rapidly wash away the outer part of the belt, explaining the structure of the enigmatic third radiation belt.”
Large, ultra-low frequency waves of plasma from the Sun which allow particles to escape the outer belt form the mysterious new structure in the magnetic field.
This is an INCREDIBLE discovery as it may lead to new inventive technologies for space radiation protection and interstellar travel. It’s also a beautiful fact proving once again that space has our mother Earth’s back and it protects its children.
Radiation can have catastrophic consequences down on Earth. Large solar storms might cost the US alone somewhere between $1 to 2 trillion, and with a 1-in-8 chance that a megaflare will hit us by 2020, understanding Earth’s magnetosphere is paramount to keep us safe.