Brace yourself, a massive solar storm is set to hit earth, threatening communications, computer services, air travel and many electronic devices, according to scientists.
Hundreds of scientists gathered last week at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum 2010, to discuss how to prepare for the expected massive solar storms which are expected to hit earth in 2013.
“We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” said Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division. “It will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic. It will cause major problems for the world.”
According to a 2008 report from the US National Academies of Sciences’ Space Studies Board the economic cost could far outweigh events like Hurricane Katrina, with costs running as high as US$2 trillion in the first year. Full recovery could take four to 10 years, it warned.
Fisher said precautions could include creating power-grid backup systems so that if transformers or giant load-balancing capacitors are fried by a solar outburst, other systems could go into effect. “If you know that a hazard is coming … and you have time enough to prepare and take precautions, then you can avoid trouble,” he said.