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It's well known that Mars has a very weak atmosphere as a result of billions of years of solar wind bombardment. Mars lacks a sufficiently large magnetic core to generate a magnetosphere strong enough to block the solar wind.

My civilization has found ways to generate enormous magnetic fields (without breaking the laws of physics) and they want Mars to have an Earth like atmosphere, eventually. They know they need to solve the magnetosphere problem first or any atmosphere they add will be wasted effort.

How much energy will it take to generate an Earth equivalent magnetosphere for Mars using technological means? Altering Mars' crust and core isn't an option for solving this problem.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe check this question on the Physics SE. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 24 '15 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre, put that in a question so I can accept it. Please. $\endgroup$ – Green Sep 24 '15 at 17:35
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Shamelessly taking numbers from this answer the Physics SE had such foresight to provide a year ahead of time...

You would need to provide $1.5 * 10^{22} \text{ W}$ of power with a current of $1.6 \text{ GA}$ to replicate the Earth's magnetic field, given a $1 \text{ cm}$ cross-section of copper wire as the generator.

See the linked answer for the full derivation and extended discussion.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just a note that you wouldn't necessarily need to create a full planet-sized magnetic field in order to shield the atmosphere. See this idea for a space-based one that would need far less power (but how much less I'm not sure) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – Nick S Oct 29 '18 at 14:33

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