Every driver is familiar with potholes on roads. But what is a pothole in space? Is it dangerous? How will it affect us groundhuggers?

Our planet apparently has a “pothole” in its atmosphere: NASA is actively monitoring a strange anomaly in Earth’s magnetic field: a giant region of lower magnetic intensity in the skies above the planet, stretching out between South America and southwest Africa. Like most potholes, it’s getting bigger with time, so NASA is observing it closely.

The South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) is a region in the skies between South America and Africa where our magnetic field is weaker than it is around the rest of the planet. It isn’t life-threatening … yet, but it is causing problems for satellites and spacecraft.

Earth’s magnetic field is incredibly important to life on our planet. Beyond allowing for compass navigation and displaying the Aurora Borealis way up north, it is responsible for shielding us from the worst effects of the Sun’s rays. A little bit of Sun, we need—a lot would have some serious negative impacts.

Scientists don’t know yet why the SSA is expanding, but people at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) are studying the situation.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.