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Why does Earth have magnetic poles?



Earth is unique in the solar system for a number of reasons: It’s the only planet with a breathable oxygen atmosphere, it’s covered in liquid water and it’s the only celestial body (that we know of) to harbor life. An often-overlooked characteristic that makes our planet special, however, is that it’s the only rocky body in the inner solar system with strong magnetic poles  — your compass would be useless on Mars.

But where do these poles come from, and what do they do? To answer these questions, let’s start with a journey to the center of our planet.

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