Effects of Near-Zero Magnetic Fields upon Biological Systems

  • Charles C. Conley


Man’s exploration of space is resulting in his prolonged separation from the terrestrial magnetic field. In Fig. 1, a typical distribution of the geomagnetic field at the earth’s surface is shown on a Mercator projection. Spacecraft, at the altitudes and latitudes of the usual near-earth orbits, will be exposed for the most part to magnetic fields no lower than those around Rio de Janeiro at sea level. But in spaceflights carrying him more than 10 earth radii (about 1/6 the distance to the moon) away from the earth’s center, man finds the intensity of his magnetic environment to be near zero (Fig. 2). Interplanetary probes [Ness and Wilcox (1965); Schardt and Opp (1967)] have revealed extremely low magnetic fields, i.e., in the range of a few gammas (10−5 Oe)* of intensity, and planetary probes [Koenig et al. (1967); Michaux (1967); Hess (1967), and Colburn (1968)] show fields of considerably less than 100 gammas around all those bodies which are man’s first scheduled extraterrestrial landing sites (Table I). In addition, the makeup of the present generation of manned spacecraft has been estimated to cause only minimal modification of these ambient, null magnetic fields within the vicinity of the crew [Modisette (1966)].


Magnetic Field Magnetic Storm Magnetic Field Intensity Acid Phosphatase Activity Magnetic Field Effect 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles C. Conley
    • 1
  1. 1.Experimental Pathology BranchNASA-Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA

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