I am trying to come up with a fun planet with "advanced" but primitive tech. We all know Tesla missed some critical physics when envisioning his global transmission network for power. But what if things were different?

What conditions could exist on a habitable planet that would allow the planet to function as a giant Tesla coil, powering wireless devices, OR allow the people on the planet to charge the planet in a way similar to what Tesla was envisioning? Could a planet, for example, have a rapidly spinning nuclear-powered natural core and appropriate metals to simulate the needs of such a device? A moon orbiting or spinning rapidly inside the magnetic field of another planet? A metallic world like in A Boy and his Tank? It can be a weird and unlikely anomaly, but naturally possible. It can be a world that was at some point terraformed, but capable of supporting a civilization with tech advancing through the 19th and 20th centuries. If short-lived, the effect should last long enough for a civilization to work it's way through an advancing civilization (say, 10,000 years). The less people need to do to make this work, the better. People will be basically human, but if slight alterations are needed (increased radiation resistance within reasonable limits, for example) that is acceptable. Bonus points if the planet itself generates the power used naturally.

"That won't work," is acceptable with appropriate details.

  • $\begingroup$ A Tesla coil is a passive device. It is basically a transformer with embellishments. I have no idea what you mean by having a planet functioning like a transformer. (And I don't see how a high-voltage high-frequency electric field, which is what a Tesla coil produces, could be used to charge anything. The main use of Tesla coils is to generate pretty sparks in order to separate punters from their money.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 5, 2022 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP I mean the planet somehow generates a field around itself that devices can tap into the power from, OR that the locals can pump power into in a similar way that Nicolai Tesla once imagined he could to make a global wireless power network. I figured there would need to be power input from something. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, and what is the relationship with a Tesla coil? The question explicitly asks how to make a planet functioned like a doubly-tuned electric transformer. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP It's Tesla's vision, that he hoped to execute with Tesla coil-like devices, that I want to know if it can be achieved. My understanding was the Earth and atmosphere wasn't conductive enough, and the system not efficient enough, to make the idea work. But what could? It would make for a fun civilization to play with. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (1) Tesla's vision was of transmitting power wirelessly over large distances. He had no particularly visionary vision about how to generate that power. (2) Telsa's ideas of long-distance wireless power transmission don't work for obvious reasons. Or rather, they sort-of work and have real-life applications, but the power losses are horrendous, so that coupled-tuned-circuits wireless power transmission is used only when really really useful. For example, a wireless phone charger, which transmits power over a whopping long distance of a few millimeters, wastes about 30% of the power at best. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:19

1 Answer 1



You'll have to come from far, I'm afraid.. the total energy of Earth's magnetic field is surprisingly low, that is about 950 KW, which can put a 30 x 10e-3 Tesla magnetic field strength to move our compass needles.

Provide all power for the planet

Currently, the world's population consumes 15 terawatts of power. Say you'd like to distribute world's energy consumption, assuming field strength is proportional to energy, the magnetic field strength needed for distribution would become (15x10e12/950000)*30x10e-3 is

4.73 x 10e5 Tesla.

This is a huge field. Animals would probably get cooked in milliseconds. A neutron star might invoke it, not a planet.

Mobile phones only

The above outcome would provide 1850W per inhabitant. Say you'd need only 18.5W for mobile phones, you still get

4730 Tesla.

To compare, an amount of only 16 Tesla will levitate a frog,

enter image description here

.. is that dangerous ? yes,

The human body starts to suffer from current induction when the exterior magnetic field reaches around 7 to 8 Tesla. Symptoms include increase in body temperature, diminishing brain functions and even hallucinations

ref: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/119999/is-it-possible-to-kill-a-human-with-a-powerful-magnet


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