Solar storm of century?
The issue of disaster caused by a solar storms is not a question of possibility, but a matter of time. By most accounts, the timeframe is shrinking, and the question that logically arises is, are we ready for the consequences?
One of the biggest disaster that would be able to face mankind, 18 hours after the Sun ejected plasma ball weighing about 10 billion tons – something that it did before and something that will definitely do many more times.
When the ejected mass of coronally crashes into Earth, the current across the global network would increase rapidly. Transformers would be destroyed, they would have no lights, that would spoil food to us, and as a result of shortages, the complete composition of public transport would collapse.
Within a few weeks extra generators in nuclear power plants would be shut down, and electric pumps that cool the reactors would stop. The result – a multiple reactor core meltdown. Energy expert in the power grid vulnerability to the impacts from space, John Kappenman says that it would be like 30 Chernobyls throughout the U.S, as popsci.com reports.
Scientists categorized mentioned catastrophic solar storm as highly consequential event of rare occurrence. Many scientists who study space weather events point out that the Earth will soon undergo just such a storm. Although these storms can strike at any time, usually they are associated with the peak of the 11-year cycle of sunspots. The next cycle is the culmination of the 2013. year.
What should we do then? First, we should do is as accurately forecast for the possible impact of solar storms. Second, the power grid would have to be closed for a few hours and at a very large area, which requires great coordination. To reduce the loss of money due to shutdown the network, the prognosis would have to be very accurate.
Last September, NASA scientists announced the Solar Shield program to monitor solar eruptions and solar storms predicted. While this is a good step in preventing disasters, it relies on the satellite launched in 1997 and which was designed to operate at only five years.