Burkhard Militzer

  • What magnetic fields can tell us about life on other planets

    November 21, 2018

    Every school kid knows that Earth has a magnetic field – it’s what makes compasses align north-south and lets us navigate the oceans. It also protects the atmosphere, and thus life, from the sun’s powerful wind. But what about other Earth-like planets in the galaxy? Do they also have magnetic fields to protect emerging life? A new analysis looks at one type of exoplanet – super-Earths up to five times the size of our own planet – and concludes that they probably do have a magnetic field, but one generated in a totally novel way: by the planets’ magma oceans.