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I was answering this question about how a living planet-organism could be possible, and realized I didn't know how such a planet-organism could produce a magnetic field. I postulated that it could somehow use revolving magnets, but this seemed weak and difficult to imagine in reality. So this brings me too my question: how could a living organism generate a magnetic field? For this question, we're assuming earth-like biology, except for the magnetic field thing.

And for bonus points: if the organism was scaled up to planet sized (ignore the other problems with this happening), would that magnetic field be able to hold off solar wind?

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We already do generate magnetic fields. Pretty much all matter does. Electromagnetism is what makes matter behave the way we expect matter to behave.

We also generate electrical currents, which produce electromagnetic fields.

The former could be increased by containing large quantities of suitably arranged and magnetized ferromagnetic materials; A life form with permanent magnets embedded in it. The latter could also be increased by producing larger electrical currents, and by arranging them in suitable circuits (coils for instance) to produce electromagnets.

Biological electrical currents are generally short pulses rather than sustained so biological electromagnets would be similar pulses. A biological sustained electromagnet would require a rather different process, probably like a refuelable battery or fuel cell fed by biological chemical sources.

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Your question relates to the DC Comic Character Mogo, Since he has the internals to absorb energy, one would assume that he can control the flow of electrons.

Here is an explanation of how the earth generates its filed: source physics.org

The Earth's inner iron core is molten, and spins to the rotation of the earth. This flow of liquid iron generates electric currents, which in turn produce magnetic fields. Charged metals passing through these fields go on to create electric currents of their own, and so the cycle continues. This self-sustaining loop is known as the geodynamo.

I would imagine, the Mogo would induce the same geodynamo effect by routing the current around his body thereby creating an electromagnet.

The electric eel gives support to this biological capability,

The electric eel generates large electric currents by way of a highly specialized nervous system that has the capacity to synchronize the activity of disc-shaped, electricity-producing cells packed into a specialized electric organ

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A living planet is generating a magnetic field already. Earth is a living planet and the movement of liquid iron magma inside of its crust creates magnetic energy that coalesce into the strong magnetic currents that create the aurora borealis and Earths protective shied.

I can see how a fictional planet that has "intelligent" thought and was living as a person or A.I could control the flow of it's iron magma and create magnetic partitions to shield itself from attack in specific places. It may even be able to focus some of the liquid molten iron magma in bursts creating pulses of magnetic waves as weapons or communication disruption or as a source of energy bursts for travel.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not a planet with life on it, but a planet that looks like an organism. i.e. has cells, a heart, and other important organs. If you believe that earth is a living organism, ok, but I'm not going to count that for this question. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Oct 19 '14 at 10:51

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