How Our Violent Sun Drives the Earth's Climate (Instead of Wiping Out the Planet)

The star at the center of our solar system is one giant ball of nuclear fusion that's perpetually blasting out dangerous solar winds. Closer planets like Venus take a real beating, but Earth is protected by a magnetosphere, and instead harnesses the sun's energy to power our planet's climate.


This NASA video is actually a clip from a longer documentary playing at the Smithsonian called Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine, and its visualizations of wind and ocean currents were created using the agency's powerful climate simulators. The Earth's spinning molten core actually produces a strong magnetic field that deflects most of the sun's harmful ejections, and what energy that isn't blocked or reflected by clouds and ice serves to heat the planet and generate the weather systems that let us grow food. So in a way, the sun's our biggest enemy and our biggest ally at the same time. Even if today it feels like it's doing more harm than good. [Universe Today via Geekosystem]

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Rodney McKay

So, we need to put superconducting magnetic lenses at the poles to focus that energy onto collectors. Voilà! Cheap power.

Too bad it would throw a wrench into the climate engine.