Space is a scary place. There’s so much of it that we haven’t discovered, and many elements present a real threat to human life here on earth.
How do we stay safe from the threat? Our planet does a pretty good job at protecting us.
Have you ever wondered how the earth protects us from space? Keep reading to learn more.
The Earth’s Defense Systems
The earth has its own defense system against asteroids and other celestial bodies.
This defense system consists of the atmosphere and the magnetic field.
The atmosphere protects us from meteors and cosmic radiation, and it also provides us with oxygen.
The magnetic field protects us from solar winds and electromagnetic pulses.
Our atmosphere acts as a shield for us by deflecting dangerous objects away from the surface of the earth.
It prevents most meteorites from reaching the ground.
If an asteroid were to hit the earth, the impact would be slowed down by the atmosphere because the air molecules act as a cushion between the asteroid and the earth’s surface, which is why they are called “space rocks.”
If an object was big enough, it could create a hole in the atmosphere, but it wouldn’t have enough energy to break through the atmosphere if it was small enough.
If an asteroid or comet strikes the earth, it will cause massive damage.
For example, a large asteroid hitting the earth would destroy everything within 100 miles of where it landed.
Asteroids can travel up to 50 times faster than the speed of sound (about 740 mph).
They are very hard because they are made mostly of rock, iron, nickel, and other metals.
The Magnetic Field
The earth’s magnetic field also protects us from the threats of space. The magnetic field is actually what makes the poles of the earth different.
These temperature differences affect the flow of electricity around the earth, causing the north and south poles to become slightly warmer than the equator.
This causes the liquid metal flow near the poles to slow down, creating a wall that keeps any incoming particles from going into the earth.
If there is no magnetic field, then all the particles would go straight through the earth without being stopped.
This magnetic field is created by molten iron deep inside the earth. When the earth cools, this iron solidifies and creates the magnetic field.
Does The Earth Do a Good Job At Protecting Us From Space?
Yes! Although there are many threats to our planet, the earth does a good job at protecting us from them.
For instance, the earth has a magnetic field protecting us from harmful radiation. Also, the earth’s atmosphere helps protect us from falling debris.
However, the earth cannot always protect us from all threats. In fact, some of these threats are too big to stop.
For example, the earth cannot stop a meteor from striking. A meteor is just a small piece of rock that falls to the ground from outer space.
Meteors are often seen as shooting stars, but meteors are much bigger than shooting stars. Meteors can travel thousands of miles per hour.
How Does Space Threaten Earth?
Space is a scary place. We don’t know what’s out there, and many things could happen to us. Here are some of the ways that space threatens us:
Meteors are pieces of debris from outer space that fall to the earth. Some meteors burn up in the atmosphere while others reach the earth’s surface.
When a meteor enters the atmosphere, it heats up and becomes brighter.
As it gets closer to the earth, it slows down until it reaches the earth’s surface. Once it hits the ground, it explodes, releasing heat and light.
When a meteor strikes the earth, it leaves behind a crater. Craters are formed when a large amount of matter falls to the earth.
If a meteorite is large enough, it will leave a huge crater.
Most meteors are not dangerous to humans, but if one of these meteors were to hit the earth at high speeds, it could do severe damage.
Cosmic radiation is the name given to charged particles outside our solar system. This includes protons, electrons, alpha particles, and gamma rays.
These particles enter our bodies and make their way to our cells. Sometimes, they get stuck in our bodies and cause cancer.
There are two types of cosmic radiation: galactic radiation and solar radiation.
Galactic radiation comes from stars that are far away from the sun. Solar radiation comes from the sun itself.
Gammas are the most harmful type of particle that we encounter in space.
Gamma rays are so powerful that they can penetrate through objects like lead and steel.
They can even pass right through the human body.
Gamma rays are hazardous because they contain lots of energy and can cause cancer or congenital disabilities.
Despite the dangers of gamma rays, their risk to human life remains low.
A solar flare is an explosion on the sun’s surface, usually when a massive cloud of gas builds up under the sun’s surface, causing a lot of pressure.
The pressure eventually breaks loose and blows off the sun’s surface material. This material shoots out into space at incredible speeds.
It travels across the entire sky for several days before hitting the earth.
If the material is strong enough, it can break apart atoms in the air around it. This process releases a great deal of energy.
If a solar flare were to occur close to the earth, it could be very damaging.
For example, a solar flare occurring over the United States could disrupt power grids and cause communication problems.
An asteroid is a rocky object that orbits the sun. Asteroids range in size from about 1 meter (3 feet) to more than 100 kilometers (60 miles).
Some asteroids have been observed traveling between Mars and Jupiter. Others orbit near the moon.
Some asteroids are made of metal, which includes iron, nickel, and platinum. Other asteroids are made of rock.
These rock-based asteroids are called stony asteroids.
Space has cold temperatures; in fact, some parts of space are colder than outer space on Earth.
This is caused by a phenomenon known as radiative cooling. Radiative cooling occurs when something gives off heat.
In space, there is no atmosphere to give off heat; instead, the temperature drops due to the lack of heat being absorbed by the surrounding vacuum.
When the temperature drops below -273 degrees Celsius (-459 Fahrenheit), then the universe becomes dark.
Thankfully, our atmosphere works like a blanket to maintain the earth’s warmth and keep the cold temperatures of space out.
If the universe tried to wipe out humanity, it would try to do so in many interesting ways. Fortunately, planet earth is doing its best to protect us.
Our atmosphere and the earth’s magnetic field are two of our greatest defenses. They’re doing a pretty good job so far!
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