Friday, April 19, 2013

Earth-like Exoplanets w/out Magnetic Field May be Lifeless

Caption <i>(Image: Credit)</i>

Magnetic death leaves Earth-like exoplanets dried out

Seemingly habitable exoplanets may be missing their magnetic shielding, leaving them exposed to damaging radiation.

To support life as we know it, planets need thick, water-rich atmospheres and liquid surface water. These conditions have so far only been hinted at, based mostly on a planet's distance from its star.

But water can get blasted away by stellar winds unless the planet has a strong magnetic field, point out Jorge Zuluaga at the University of Antioquia in Colombia and colleagues. Mars and Venus do not have magnetic fields, and it is thought that stellar winds stripped away the bulk of Mars's atmosphere, while Venus's was left with mostly carbon dioxide, making it toxic.

More - Link >>> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23393-magnetic-death-leaves-earthlike-exoplanets-dried-out.html

Source: New Scientist Magazine.

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