Updated 05:33 AM EST, Sun, Dec 05, 2021

Earth Protected by Invisible Shield Like 'Star Trek'

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Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have identified an invisible shield protecting the Earth's surface from harmful electrons.

The "Star Trek"-esque shield are situated some 7,200 miles (11,600 km) above the Earth and has been blocking dangerous and super fast electrons from entering the planet, Daily Mail reports.

According to the news outlet, the electrons "can whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites and damage space systems." If by chance the killer electrons hit Earth, "they could knock out power grids, radically change the planet's climate and drive up rates of cancer."

Professor Daniel Baker, director of the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said that the shield was found in the Van Allen radiation belts. These radiation belts are held in place by Earth's magnetic field and are two doughnut-shaped rings filled with high-energy electrons and protons, FOX News reports.

"Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on 'Star Trek' that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It's an extremely puzzling phenomenon," Baker said in a statement, as quoted by Daily Mail.

According to Daily Mail, the Van Allen belts are discovered in 1958 by scientist James Van Allen from the University of Iowa. The radiation belts contain an inner and outer belt located up to 25,000 miles (40,000km) above Earth's surface. LA Times added that the inner belt is full of high-energy protons while the outer belt is filled with high-energy electrons.

"These belts are thought to be fed by cosmic rays and the solar wind, and they can swell and shrink over time in response to changes in space weather," LA Times noted.

Baker and his team previously thought the electrons which drifted into Earth's upper atmosphere will be wiped out by air molecules. But according to FOX News, the scientists discovered an "extremely sharp boundary at the inner edge of the outer radiation belt, which appears to block electrons from breaking through the shield and moving towards Earth's atmosphere." This impenetrable barrier blocks the electrons from moving deeper into our planet.

Using NASA probes, Baker led a team last year to study a third, transient storage ring positioned between the inner and outer Van Allen belts. The recently discovered third ring's existence seems to depend on the intensity of the space weather, and appears to "block the ultrafast electrons from breaching the shield and moving deeper towards Earth's atmosphere," Daily Mail further reports.

"It's almost like these electrons are running into a glass wall in space. It's an extremely puzzling phenomenon," Baker said, according to the news outlet.

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