NASA space probes have discovered a human-made shield that seems to have a massive impact on space conditions reaching outside the scope of our blue planet. The unexpected result seems to be that it is actually protecting the Earth.
In 2012, NASA reported launching two space probes which were supposed to collect data from two Earth’s Van Allen Belts. When the scientist analyzed the data from the inner and the outer belt, they realized that this detected barrier was actually pushing the radiation belts further into space.
Van Allen Belts are a massive collection of charged particles that gathers influenced by the Earth’s magnetic field. These belts can shrink down or swell up enough to damage our satellites in orbit with radiation, and now they are much further from Earth than they were a few decades ago. This means that the radiation streams are also much farther away and much less dangerous.
With this discovery, we are becoming aware that we are changing much more than just our own planet. Our actions are having an effect on the space beyond Earth, but fortunately, this time it is something beneficial.
What is it that actually created this protective barrier?
From the 1960s onwards, a radio communication type known as Very Low Frequency (VLF) has become much more used and we are discovering now how it influences the movement of certain particles in space.
VLF signals have been used for deep-sea communication, or transmissions across difficult, mountain terrain on account of their large wave lengths which can be diffracted around huge obstacles. Despite the fact that these signals were never used for anything beyond our planet, they seem to have been bleeding out in space and forming an impenetrable shield.
The real discovery was the realization that VLF signals can actually have an effect on how radiation belt particles are moving. This led to the finding that our completely coincidental protective barrier made from VLF signals has been pushing back the radiation belts further away from Earth.
Dan Baker from the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, calls this formation an ‘’impenetrable barrier’’ which attests to the massive effect we are having on our environment on and of our planet. This and other huge human-made effects we are having on the planet and space environment has scientists calling for a brand new epoch named after us.