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Friday 24th October 2014
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Would life exist if Earth didnít have a magnetic field?

Question

The world has a magnetic field which is created when the Earth reflects radiation from the sun. Would life be possible if we didnít have a magnetic field?
David, High Wycombe

Answer

** Definitive **
Name: Andrew, Islington
Qualification: I like reading pop science books
Answer: We would not exist without the protection we get from the big iron core in the centre of the Earth which creates this magnetic field around us. The sun throws off huge amounts of radiation Ė a massive nuclear reaction Ė and these particles fly towards us unimpeded. If it wasnít for the magnetic shield, they would hit us and it would destroy parts of your DNA. You wouldnít fry, but you would get radiation sickness. The magnetic field repels the radiation by bending the particlesí route Ė the solar wind Ė around the Earth. Thatís what the Aurora Borealis is towards the North pole.

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