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Removing the Van Allen Belt: Is this as bad an idea as I think it is?

Discussion in 'Non Sci-fi Debates' started by ^Graff, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. http://www.tethers.com/hivolt.html

  2. Qeveren

    Qeveren Well hello there, little friends...

    Other than potentially revealing Van Allen's junk, I don't see a huge problem here. They're generally pretty variable in flux, anyway, due to solar weather IIRC.

    What's the worst that could happen? :p
    Malcolmo and Marduk like this.
  3. DanTheVanMan

    DanTheVanMan Oh, is that light is a train? Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Hmmn, instead of 'scattering' the Belts, I'd rather that they were 'collected' by a device, say similar to the ST:Insurrection device.

    Instead of 'de-aging' as in the movie, we could use it as a power source, or as an anti-asteroid weapon.
  4. Harry Leferts

    Harry Leferts Solidarity

    Last I checked, removing them is a bad idea as they channel various forms of dangerous cosmic radiation away from Earth.
  5. Qeveren

    Qeveren Well hello there, little friends...

    I thought that was the magnetic field itself? The belts are mostly a consequence of said channeling, I think?
    Bacle likes this.
  6. Harry Leferts

    Harry Leferts Solidarity

    Yes, but in order to get rid of the belts, which are caused by the magnetic field, you would need to pull something with the magnetic field itself... which would be very bad.
  7. Qeveren

    Qeveren Well hello there, little friends...

    Looks like they're just setting up an electric field along a tether, in order to boost most of the ionized particles out of the magnetic trap that they're normally caught in. CMEs from the Sun do this sort of thing as well, though I'm not sure on what scale compared to what they're proposing. I'm not exactly a space meteorologist though. :)
  8. Richardson

    Richardson Solidarity

    And the belts make antimatter. We want naturally produced antimatter, because it means we get to kick antimatter in the head, stick it in a bottle and release it screaming occasionally to power our fuckoff huge space super-ships.
  9. Wetapunga

    Wetapunga God Of Ugly Things Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    The magnetic field does that, the field will still be there

    What this does is it removes the high energy particles that are trapped in the magnetic field and pose a radiation risk to ships moving through them.


    You really need to brush up on some basic high school physics.

    This proposed system for draining the belts doesn't have anything to do with the magnetic field, it is an electrostatic system. You take a tether and place a powerful electrostatic charge on it. You then drag the tether back and forth through the belt. The charged particles are repelled or attracted by the charged tether and pushed out of the magnetic field zones where they were trapped.

    Nothing at all affects the magnetic field here. It is simply the particles being exposed to two different forces, magnetism and electric fields, if the electric field of the charged tether is significantly more powerful than the weak magnetic field trapping the particles they will be knocked out of the Van Allen belts.
    Posbi, walkir and YUIOP10 like this.
  10. Otter

    Otter BANNED...from dating Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Only if we're replacing it with the Van Halen belt :p
  11. RRoan

    RRoan Rocket Queen

    It's really not a bad idea, unless somebody can come up for a reason why it's good to have a tenuous-yet-radioactive cloud of charged particles floating around in a medium earth orbit. The only real question is whether the benefits are larger than the cost of draining them.
  12. Vanquisher221

    Vanquisher221 Pimp Marine

    Wouldn't that mess with the Northern Lights? The Alaskan and Nordic tourism boards might be very displeased in that case :p
  13. RRoan

    RRoan Rocket Queen

    No. The charged particles that cause aurorae come from the sun; some of them get trapped in the region we call the Van Allen belts.
  14. Wetapunga

    Wetapunga God Of Ugly Things Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    The Van Allen belts are roughly parallel to the equator, the magnetic doldrums as such where they trap solar wind particles




    The Aurora are caused by the collision of high energy solar wind radiation particles with the atmosphere above the poles.

    It only happens (generally) at the poles as the magnetic field is near vertical there, so instead of deflecting the particles away from earth they are funnelled down to the ground over the poles impacting the atmosphere and giving a nice light show.

    The reason you can see aurora much further away from the poles than normal during large solar flares is that the solar flare impacting the Earth's magnetic field deforms the field squashing it, this causes the weaker area over the poles to expand so solar wind-atmosphere interactions happen at latitudes further from the pole.
  15. Vanquisher221

    Vanquisher221 Pimp Marine

    Ah, ok. I was under the impression the aurorae had something to do with particles stuck in the Van Allen belts. Good to know northern tourism is safe :p