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The Earth is a planet with a dipolar magnetic field which is agitated by a magnetized plasma wind streaming from the Sun. The magnetic field shields the Earth's surface from penetrating high energy solar wind particles, as well as interstellar cosmic rays. The magnetic dipole has reversed sign some hundreds of times over the last 400 million years. These polarity reversals correspond to drastic breakdowns of the dynamo action. The question arises what the consequences for the Earth'sdoi:10.1051/0004-6361:20040154 fatcat:o6jllbrauvgvdmeghc6i5t44v4