This conference paper proposes placing a magnetic shield at the Mars L1 point to protect it's atmosphere. The paper reports the results of modeling the martian atmosphere at a variety of pressures (10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 mbar).
How long will it take for the martian atmosphere to increase to these pressures, if the magnetic shield is applied?
The Wikipedia article says that
Simulations indicate that within years, the planet would be able to achieve half the atmospheric pressure of Earth
I suspect that this is too fast, and the Wikipedia article is wrong.
My back of the envelope calculation is:
- Mars loses atmosphere at 0.1kg/second
- Earth's atmosphere weighs 5x1018 kg
- Therefore it will take 5x1019 seconds or 1.6x1012 years for mars to naturally generate an atmosphere as heavy as the Earth's, if we install a magnetic shield.
- This means that it will take at least millions of years before we see a useful increase in atmospheric pressure on Mars using this approach.
How long will it take for the martian atmosphere to increase to pressures of 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 mbar if the magnetic shield is applied?