US Space Agencies Gear Up for Possible Solar Storm

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Solar Storm

Scientists in the US are gearing up for a solar storm that could break down communication on earth for days, weeks, months and even years. The possibility referred to as a low probability but high-impact event is being prepared for by agencies including US Department of Homeland Security and NASA.

The event, which if occurs, will be similar to the infamous Carrington Event of 1859 that led to one of the worst known geomagnetic storms. Such an event would disrupt satellites, knock out GPS system, shut down air travel, lights, and telephones and erase computers’ memory. The storm apart from disrupting communications and energy grids could also corrode water and sewer pipelines, undermine military and security operations and harm astronauts travelling in space.

Llyod’s of London estimated that fixing all of the problems would cost anywhere between $600 billion and $2.6 trillion. “Once systems start to fail, (the outages) could cascade in ways we can't even conceive,” said Daniel Baker, director of the laboratory for atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado.


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