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Vega115
2003-Jun-17, 02:43 AM
Well, firstly, hello! Im a newbie...so, i guess this is my first post! (well, third) But ive been coming to this site forever. But here is my question:

What would would the effect of machine like in the movie Contact be to the surrounding area (sky, land). Moreover, what would happen if you created a machine that somehow created a magnetic field that was actually stronger than the Earth's? Would it weaken the actual, natural magnetic field?


Yes, this question is odd...but it is just my crazy mind coming up with weird questions, and I am pretty sure that the answer is going to be either, "You wold destroy the Earth" or "Its too fantastical to have a real answer" But I'm just looking for an answer! :wink:

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-17, 02:57 AM
Welcome Vega!

If you want some information on the science in Contact, you might as well start with the website attached to this BB!

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/movies/contact.html

Donnie B.
2003-Jun-17, 05:17 PM
As to magnetic fields, we make all kinds of machines with much stronger magentic fields than the Earth's. In fact, a refrigerator magnet has a much stronger field than Earth's... but it's much smaller.

If you want to prove this, take a dime-store compass and bring a refrigerator magnet close to it. You can easily deflect the compass needle. This proves that the refrigerator magnet's field is much stronger than the Earth's... at that one place.

Of course, other machines (like electric generators and particle accelerators) create fields millions of times stronger than this. But they're still much too small to have any effect on the overall field of the Earth.

The Earth's field is generated (it's thought) by circulating currents in the outer core. These are really huge-scale processes, and nothing we puny humans can do makes a lick of difference to them. We do know that over the long haul, Earth's field has weakened and reversed polarity many times. That's a natural process and is unlikely to be affected by human activity.

So, what if we could make a really huge magnet, one that was big enough to affect those geophysical processes? Well, we can't, and won't be able to in the foreseeable future. And if we could, I guess the answer would be, we don't know what would happen, because we don't really understand the processes in enough detail to predict it. But it's nothing to worry about!

Vega115
2003-Jun-19, 02:23 AM
As to magnetic fields, we make all kinds of machines with much stronger magentic fields than the Earth's. In fact, a refrigerator magnet has a much stronger field than Earth's... but it's much smaller.

If you want to prove this, take a dime-store compass and bring a refrigerator magnet close to it. You can easily deflect the compass needle. This proves that the refrigerator magnet's field is much stronger than the Earth's... at that one place.

Of course, other machines (like electric generators and particle accelerators) create fields millions of times stronger than this. But they're still much too small to have any effect on the overall field of the Earth.

The Earth's field is generated (it's thought) by circulating currents in the outer core. These are really huge-scale processes, and nothing we puny humans can do makes a lick of difference to them. We do know that over the long haul, Earth's field has weakened and reversed polarity many times. That's a natural process and is unlikely to be affected by human activity.

So, what if we could make a really huge magnet, one that was big enough to affect those geophysical processes? Well, we can't, and won't be able to in the foreseeable future. And if we could, I guess the answer would be, we don't know what would happen, because we don't really understand the processes in enough detail to predict it. But it's nothing to worry about!

Not really a magnet per say, but something that would almost create what happens at the poles (the magnetic field weakens, thus letting us see the northern lights) at that spot. I guess it would be something like what powers the machine in the movie Contact...I just dont know what it is that powers it! :-? To tell ya the truth, im slowly, but surely writing a sci-fi trilogy that involves a machine of my creation that is something like the one in Contact, different design though (and a HELL of a lot of rings...i think 26 or so) and it works like the machine....though im not copying it from Contact...i just know that itll be similar....I'll have to edit it though, make it my own....there is time. But now my question is: What powered the machine in Contact? Was it magnets? and What would be the effects of an EXTREMELY powerful electromagnet or what ever powered it? :-?