The recent discovery of an Earth twin has boosted chances there is intelligent life on other planets. But while Pope Francis’s telescope scans the starlit skies, the Vatican is sceptical of ever meeting Mr.
Earth's magnetic field is 800 million years older than previously thought, new research suggests.
A new analysis of Western Australian zircon minerals has found the engine that generates the field started not long after the planet formed. Earth's so-called "geodynamo", involving the movement of molten iron in the Earth's outer core, began 4.22 billion years ago, say researchers today in the journal Science.
"This opens a window into a period that we know almost nothing about," says co-author, Professor Francis Nimmo of the University of California, Santa Cruz. "Before this study we knew that the dynamo had existed for around three and a half billion years. What this study has done is push back the age of the dynamo by another 800 million years."
Earth's magnetic field acts as a shield protecting the planet's atmosphere and water, which make life on Earth possible. Without the magnetic field Earth's atmosphere would have been eroded away by the solar wind, a stream of charged particles flowing from the Sun.
The magnetic field was particularly important in Earth's early history when solar winds were about 100 times stronger than they are now.
"The young Sun was very active, and so having a strong magnetic field early on allows you to hang on to your atmosphere," says Nimmo.
"Mars had a dynamo early on, but then that dynamo died," he says. "Part of the reason that Mars lost its atmosphere is not simply that it has less gravity, but also that it didn't have a magnetic field protecting the atmosphere from being blown away."
There’s a lot of talk in alternative healing circles about aligning the body’s energy with cosmic healing frequencies. A new study suggests that our bodies are attuned to frequencies in the cosmic environment.
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