Aside from lacking resources, the largest setback towards calling this crimson world home is the absence of a global magnetic field. With humanity glimpsing at the red planet as a future home, it seems as if the red planet is anticipating our arrival and may remedy our “magnetic problems” for us.

( Above ground, Mars is mostly a bone-chilling desert pocked with craters. Hundreds of miles below, however, a molten sea of iron, nickel and sulfur churns. And new research suggests the gooey core will eventually solidify-either from the outside-in, forming an iron-nickel core, or from the inside out, forming a core of a fool’s-gold-like minerals.

Andrew Stewart, a planetary geochemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said Mars’ cooling core might restore magnetism to the red planet. “If liquid metal moves around a solid core, it could create a natural dynamo like the one found in Earth’s core,” said Stewart, who co-authored the study detailed in today’s online edition of the journal Science.

If this is true, then Mars may in the distant future become a habitable world, depending upon the strength of the magnetic field.

Although visiting Mars may be anywhere from a couple decades to a century away, our thirst for knowledge of the red planet may never be quenched, even after settling on Earth’s distant neighbor.

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