An Earth electron shield is no invention from a sci-fi novel; scientists have recently learned of a very real force field — powerful yet invisible to the naked human eye — in space. Potentially dangerous electrons are said to bounce against this shield, not unlike a glass wall, in an imperceptible act that in fact keeps us humans alive on this planet. The Denver Post reports on this incredible phenomenon this Friday, November 28, in a discovery that space experts are calling astounding.
Forget the powers of Star Trek— an Earth electron shield is already in existence that might grab the attention of those looking to the stars. Currently considered something of an invisible force field, this barrier is said to keep planet Earth safe from “killer electrons” in space that would infiltrate our atmosphere without it.
“Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on ‘Star Trek’ that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It’s an extremely puzzling phenomenon,” said the study’s lead author, Daniel Baker. Baker serves as a leading official at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. He seems utterly intrigued by the finding at this point.
According to early conclusions drawn from scientists, a vast number of electrons are said to be in constant motion — moving at breathtaking speeds — way up in the galaxies. They may be infinitesimally small, but have potent power — they can expose satellites and other objects in the cosmos with harmful radiation, or can cause severe damage to other types of systems out in space.
Do we humans have to fear these invisible “killer electrons?” Not quite yet, says Fox News, thanks in no small part to an Earth electron shield. These shields are said to act like a powerful blockade, a “glass wall” that serves as a force field around our life-giving planet. “It’s almost like these electrons are running into a glass wall in space,” Baker added in a statement.
While still puzzling on the whole to space experts, these dangerous electrons zoom around within the Van Allen radiation belts. These distant “belts” are actually a pair of zones that contain a number of highly charged particles that enclose Earth. Within the inner rim of the latter Van Allen sphere, a force field shield exists around the planet, preventing these speedy electrons from ever making contact with our own atmosphere.
While we may be safe from the particles thanks to the Earth electron shield, scientists say that we need to be particularly careful from now on in terms of space travel. Furthermore, spacecraft design and processes should also be reexamined regarding radiation protection. Both space exploration and astronaut travel should be updated to protect advanced technology and humans from harmful radiation, regardless of our natural glass wall.
“This means that for space systems operating closer to Earth … there are virtually none of these immensely penetrating and dangerous high-energy electrons,” Baker said. “This means that spacecraft above 7,200 miles altitude will generally see quite high fluxes of high-energy radiation; below such altitudes, the energetic electron environment is much more ‘benign’ than we previously had suspected.”