Super-Earths Get Magnetic ‘Shield’ From Liquid Metal
Within supersized alien versions of Earth, a common transparent ceramic may become a flowing liquid metal, perhaps granting those distant worlds magnetic fields to shield life from harmful radiation, researchers say. Among the hundreds of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, that astronomers have discovered in recent years are so-called “super-Earths,” which are rocky planets like Earth but larger, at up to 10 times its mass. Scientists have discovered super-Earths that may support oceans of water on their surfaces on their surfaces, and others that may even be planets made of diamond.
The increased mass of super-Earths would bring about internal pressures much greater than Earth’s. Such high pressures would lead to large viscosities and high melting temperatures, meaning the interiors of super-Earths might not separate into rocky mantles and metallic cores like Earth’s does.