Season 31, Episode 7 Magnetic Storm

First Aired: November 18, 2003

What's up with Earth's magnetic field, the “cocoon” that protects the planet from solar radiation? It appears to be “rapidly fading,” says narrator Geno Golusha, and the consequences of that could be dire, as a survey of the lifeless Mars, which lost its magnetic field some four billion years ago, attests. The good news is Earth might not be headed for the same fate. Instead, scientists interviewed assert, polarity might be in the process of reversing itself---north to south---something that happens every couple of hundred thousand years or so. What it means is unclear (humans have never lived through it). But it's not the end of the world.

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  • Premiered: March 3, 1974
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  • Premise: PBS's premier science-documentary series, which has won six Peabody Awards and more than 20 Emmys (four in 2002 alone) since its 1974 debut. `Nova' clearly, and often engagingly, `demystifies' a vast range of science, technology and history topics---past a… (more)

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