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Do the magnetic fields of the planets affect spacecraft during flybys?

Christian Reynolds, Green Bay, Wisconsin

 

RELATED TOPICS: SPACE PHYSICS
Magnetic fields of the planets affect spacecraft during flybys.
Yes, a spacecraft that has a net charge will feel an effect due to the “Lorentz force” while moving through a planet’s magnetic field. (English scientist Oliver Heaviside actually derived the effect in 1889, a few years before Hendrik Lorentz.) The Lorentz force is a non-fundamental force, meaning it’s not in the same class as gravity or the strong nuclear force. According to Lorentz and Heaviside, the charged particle “feels” this force perpendicular to both the magnetic field it is traveling in and the direction it is moving.

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