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Earth’s Atmosphere Being Slingshot Into Space

Atmosphere Oxygen is constantly being evacuated out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Thankfully, at the moment, we have enough oxygen to spare, so there is nothing to worry about. But as a result of the European Space Agency’s Cluster mission, scientists have discovered that sometime in the future, into our Sun’s old age, there might be cause to worry.

The physical mechanism ejecting our precious oxygen into space was Cluster’s mission, when it was launched in 2000. After a failed first launch, when the first lot of four satellites was lost in the first test flight of the European Ariane 5 expendable launch system, the ESA waited four years until they could send four new satellites up on Soyuz-Fregat rockets.

Flying in a tetrahedral (3-D triangle) formation, the four satellites flew at an altitude anywhere between 30,000 and 64,000 kilometers above the planet. During 2001 and 2003 the satellites were thus able to amass a large amount of information about the mechanism that sends our oxygen into space.

What they found was that the electrically charged oxygen atoms, ions, flew outwards from the poles and into space and were being slingshot out into space, gathering speed as they exited. “It is a bit like a sling-shot effect,” said Hans Nilsson, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, who headed the team of space scientists analyzing the data.

Cluster found that the slingshot behavior was caused by a change in direction of the magnetic field. Energetic particles from the solar wind can be channelled along the magnetic field lines and, when these impact the atmosphere of the Earth, they can produce aurorae. This occurs over the poles of Earth. The same interactions provide the oxygen ions with enough energy to accelerate out of the atmosphere and reach the Earth’s magnetic environment.

“Cluster allowed us to measure the gradient of the magnetic field and see how it was changing direction with time,” said Nilsson. “We are beginning to realise just how many interactions can take place between the solar wind and the atmosphere.”

Article by Josh Hill, partially adapted from ESA Press Release


Fascinating, like the crystallographic properties of a tetrahdron, my favourite shape. But what about this lost oxygen? What chance have we of replacing it, I wonder, say by liberating it from limestone over the billion years long periods ahead? Or from taking hydrogen from sea water. That may in all probability be the most logical.

This doesn't sound like " BIG " news, the atmosphere does not come to an abrupt halt at a certain height or level. It gradually dissipates after a certain point, so naturally some atmosphere will escape into the near - vacuum of space. This is NEWS ?

in my opinion i think your imagination is exxageriating a bit too far out in space and its getting the best of you. it just surprises me that you want people to hear your idiosity. in the last 45 days all countries peoples have either covered up or came to close to the beams that are causing global warming, because the beams were turned off and the glaciers between July.11-08 and sept.-08 stopped melting and started freezing, so i updated a retrace of co-ordinance in that time zone and advised a ground search for openings in the surface from 35 miles to sea shore. we'll pinpoint those beams yet and we'll put cameras around them and a net above. in the mean time we'll continue to search for more to delete global warming. that i know how to do. WILL be the only operation left to close up the other entrance. a better explanation for this link== have a nice day. mike

I wonder if the proposed space evaluators’ umbilical cord could create a wicking condition?

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