With concerns about climate change sparking debates throughout the United States and the world, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing about the harm human intervention can have on our environment. A recent discovery made by NASA, however, shows that not every unintentional outcome of our interactions with the world around us proves negative, and in fact, we seem to have unintentionally created a Star Trek-like shield around our entire planet.

NASA’s Van Allen space probes have detected an artificial barrier that surrounds and encompasses our planet created by the use of very low-frequency radio communications, or VLFs.  Although these VLFs are used without any consideration for what they might be doing beyond our planet, they seem to be shielding us from high energy radiation flowing toward us from celestial bodies like our sun.

VLFs are normally produced by ground-based radio telescopes transmitting to submarines located deep beneath the oceans’ surface.  Although the transmissions are intended for earth-bound recipients beneath the waves, the signals continue out into the space surrounding our planet, where they serve as a sort of ionic barrier between us and the type of radiation released by things like geomagnetic storms caused by solar flares.

These storms can potentially have the same effect on Earth based electronics as an Electro Magnetic Pulse, knocking out communications and rendering anything electrical not shielded from its effects useless.