Let’s face it – humanity needs to be much better prepared for massive solar storms, which can wreak havoc on our technology-dependent society. Across the globe, the scientific community and governmental bodies are preparing for the threat posed by the potential of a massive geomagnetic solar storm striking Earth. According to the experts, since the birth of modern technology, space weather has been responsible for large scale blackouts, technical faults in deep space exploration missions, and severe interference in flight-control systems for commercial aircraft.
One of the most powerful solar storms in history, known as the Carrington Event, occurred in 1859 and succeeded in disabling the global telegraph system. Whilst the Carrington Event was indeed impressive, humanity has yet to be struck by a truly massive solar storm.
While we are bolstering our early warning capabilities, the fact remains that, as it stands, we are alarmingly unprepared for the onslaught of a hugely powerful solar storm. A team of astronomers recently discovered that our Sun is indeed capable of producing such an event. The powerful solar storms (superflares) have been observed taking place on numerous stars throughout the cosmos. According to the experts, between 20 to 40 million people could be affected for a period of 1-2 years, depending on the availability of replacement transformers needed to restore electric supplies.
The costs of recovering from such an event are between US$600 billion to $2.6 trillion. The US military is preparing for such an event by increasing its satellite-based space weather monitoring capabilities in the hope of safeguarding assets such as drones, which would be lost if the link between pilot and vehicle were to be severed. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share.