50 votes

Have any space suits (not) used "pulsed magnetic devices"?

Spacecraft and space suits do NOT generate a magnetic field for medical reasons. Any magnetic fields generated are side effects of using electric motors etc. The linked question on Skeptics ...
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  • 122k
26 votes

Why doesn't the ISS orient itself to the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle?

Sources: bar magnet (annotated with a red "X"), aluminum can (annotated with a green "OK" check mark) Beautiful video and demonstration, thank you! However... That magnet in ...
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  • 148k
22 votes

Place a satellite at Sun-Mars L1 to shield Mars from Sun radiation

This answers the question on how to block ions coming directly from the Sun from hitting Mars by a satellite stationed at L1. It does not cover the fact whether such a shield is effective in reducing ...
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  • 13.3k
22 votes

Have any space suits (not) used "pulsed magnetic devices"?

Well, an electric motor is arguably a 'pulsed magnetic device', as is a solenoid valve, but good ones try very hard to contain the fields to where they will do useful work. I suppose one could ...
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  • 391
21 votes

How much power would a spacecraft's magnetic shield require?

It's Monday, so let me rain on this parade a little. Current magnetic shield designs are adequate to protect against ionizing radiation from the sun. They aren't sufficient to protect against ...
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  • 20.9k
19 votes
Accepted

Why did the data "go wild" when Ulysses entered Hyakutake's tail?

The NASA public affairs department may have exaggerated a bit with the "went wild" quote. The encounter was not even noticed until two years after it happened! Evidence of the encounter was ...
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16 votes

Is it a pure coincindence that the magnetic poles of Earth are near the geographic poles?

It is not coincidence and it does not apply to just the Earth. The Sun, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all have sizable magnetic fields. Mercury and Ganymede have smaller but still ...
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  • 65.6k
15 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't the ISS orient itself to the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle?

Because the people that run it don't want that: The magnetic field of the ISS is quite weak. This would be a combination of deliberate and inadvertent , as it is built out of mostly nonmagnetic ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Could an articulated permanent magnet work as a low-power cubesat magnetotorquer? Problems?

RAX and RAX-2 and possibly other cubesats launched by the University of Michigan (I can't remember at the moment) used fixed neodymium based magnets on their Z+ axis. Hysteresis was added to dump any ...
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  • 966
11 votes
Accepted

The Orbital Mass Accelerator Engine Theory

In theory, yes, if the accelerator and the spacecraft are of the same mass, they'll gain the same amount of velocity when they pass, and so they'll meet at a higher altitude on the opposite side. If ...
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11 votes

Why doesn't the ISS orient itself to the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle?

This isn't an answer, just a minor addition to the previous answers. There have actually been cases where satellites have accidentally become magnetized and caused an undesirable magnetotorque; it is ...
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  • 2,144
10 votes

Could a powerful enough laser or maser heat the core of Mars?

This question assumes Mars doesn't have a magnetic field because Mars' core is frozen solid. It's not. Mars has a partially liquid core, just as does the Earth. (The Earth has a liquid outer core and ...
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  • 65.6k
10 votes

Re-entry Heat Shield Alternative

There are several misconceptions in your question/proposal: The Orion and the Dragon as well as other reentry capsules do not fly with the cone tip forward. They fly with the blunt "bottom" side ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Do accelerometers rely on magnetism?

No, accelerometers do not rely on the magnetic field of the Earth. Diagrammatic explanation of how inertia is used to measure acceleration. (Source) As detailed here (own highlighting): ...
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9 votes

Would it be possible to deploy a man-made magnetic field in Mars orbit for terraforming?

If you are able to terraform Mars in some reasonable amount of time, let's say in 100 years, then you don't need a magnetic field. Just do whatever you did to terraform the planet, but at one ...
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  • 57.7k
9 votes
Accepted

What kind of antimatter engine is this?

It's a "beam core" engine, described in some further detail on Project Rho's Big List O' Engines: Microscopic amounts of antimatter are reacted with equal amounts of matter. Remember: ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Are magnetic boots in space practical?

This turns out to be a pre-space-age thing. It's not really needed, most of the time it's perfectly fine to float around. On Skylab they provided an elaborate system of triangular grid floors and ...
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8 votes

How could an induced magnetosphere be created at Mars for terraforming?

The way to solve this problem has recently been proposed by NASA. Put a magnet on the L1 Legrange point (between Mars and the Sun) of about 2 Tesla. This is what it looks like: At present, ...
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  • 383
8 votes

How strong a magnetic field does Mars need to contain Earth-like atmosphere?

Earth's atmosphere is also slowly "leaking" into space, but very slowly. This is because there are multiple processes involved in escaping atmospheres. One of those processes is Jeans escape, where ...
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  • 707
8 votes
Accepted

Can Earth magnetic field be used for attitude determination in LEO?

Yes, actually, and it is commonly used for LEO satellites. I know of a number of satellites that use magnetic field information to determine their location. It won't provide absolute attitude, but it ...
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  • 119k
8 votes

Is a magnetic field really needed to terraform Mars?

Mars has no magnetic field to protect any atmosphere we might add to the planet, but fortunately it would be lost very slowly, over geological time. Fortunately, both protecting and creating a Martian ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Launching sounding rockets from the magnetic equator (ISRO's Thumba)

It turns out the magnetic equator is quite important to for research on geophysics and the interaction of the Earth's field with the atmosphere and solar wind. This location seems ideal both for ...
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  • 148k
7 votes

How would it be possible to kick start Mars's magnetic field?

Mars's has an exceedingly low flux magnetic field generated by its core because there is very little convection of its conductive core material. This is likely because the natural nuclear fission ...
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7 votes

Could magnetic "boots" be used to simulate the effects of gravity for asteroid ships?

The strength of a magnetic field is proportional to $1/r^3$, so if you build magnets into the floor, there's a huge difference in field strength between your head and feet. So using a suit to provide ...
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  • 122k
7 votes

Is a magnetic field really needed to terraform Mars?

Venus has no Magnetic field and it has a thicker atmosphere than any other terrestrial planet. Which is a direct counterexample to the statement that lack of magnetic field is what makes it impossible ...
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  • 171
7 votes

Can a spacecraft be propelled by two electromagnets of different size?

Any method of propelling a spacecraft needs two things: Something to push against, which is usually propellant ("reaction mass") that is expelled, but also can be matter existing in space ...
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  • 8,411
7 votes

Why doesn't the ISS orient itself to the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle?

As other answers have noted, the bodies of most spacecraft are made of nonmagnetic aluminum. However, some smaller spacecraft do use the Earth's magnetic field for attitude control. These smaller ...
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  • 65.6k
6 votes
Accepted

How could an induced magnetosphere be created at Mars for terraforming?

The premise of the question is incorrect. If you were able to terraform Mars on a human civilization time scale in the first place, then you can replenish the atmosphere, if you like, at a rate ...
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  • 57.7k
6 votes

Could magnetic "boots" be used to simulate the effects of gravity for asteroid ships?

Diamagnetic gravity would require absurdly strong magnetic fields. The field strength required is proportional to the product of the field strength and the rate of field strength change; in order to ...
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  • 11.6k
6 votes

Would it be possible to deploy a man-made magnetic field in Mars orbit for terraforming?

One of the larger obstacles is the planet's weak magnetic field, which if I understand correctly is integral to containing an atmosphere and deflecting harmful solar radiation. That is far from one ...
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