Humans Have Accidentally Created A Protective Bubble Around Earth

Posted: May 21 2017, 2:04pm CDT | by , Updated: May 21 2017, 2:25pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Humans have Accidently Created a Protective Bubble Around the Earth
Artist's impression of artificial bubble around Earth. Credit: NASA

NASA's Van Allen Probes finds a man-made barrier around Earth that is protecting us from space radiations

NASA space probe has just discovered an artificial barrier around the Earth and it is protecting the planet from harmful space radiations and solar flares.

Researchers believe that the bubble is formed as a result of human activity on Earth. A certain type of radio waves which is used as a mean of communication from submarines deep in the ocean to the ground based stationsm are also making their way into the space and interacting with particles there. They are known as very low frequency waves or VLF radio communications.

“A number of experiments and observations have figured out that, under the right conditions, radio communications signals in the VLF frequency range can in fact affect the properties of the high-energy radiation environment around the Earth.” Phil Erickson from MIT Haystack Observatory said.

This bubble is seen by a number of spacecrafts high above the surface, including NASA’ Van Allen Probes, which study electrons and ions in the near-Earth environment. Launched in 2012, the probe has detected two rings of charged particles around the Earth, in place of the planet’s own natural magnetic field.

The outer edge of artificial bubble is almost aligned with the inner edge of the Van Allen radiation belts, which is a layer of energetic charged particles around Earth trapped by its magnetic field. Researchers speculate that the bubble is constantly pushing the Van Allen Belts away from Earth over the past few decades.

Radio communication has increased since the 1960s and a comparison of data also suggests that the location of Allen radiation belts today is further away from the Earth than it was in the 60s. If there were no human VLF signals, the likely would likely stretch closer to Earth.

As a result researchers conclude that this bubble is inevitably blocking natural high energy particles from space and shielding us from their harmful effects. It also suggests that humans are not only influencing the Earth’s landscape but also the environment of space close to its orbit.

By understanding more about how VLF waves affect our space environment, we can learn more about this complex region surrounding Earth.

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