Solar Storms And Technology
By James W. Astrada
NASA is currently studying the effects of the Sun’s power on Earth and for a good reason. Studies have recently shown (since 2010) an unusual increase in solar activity heading into 2013. According to some predictions, the U.K. could possibly face widespread power blackouts and be left without communication for an undetermined amount of time. According to NASA, we are entering into a “once in a generation space storm” that could disrupt all technology globally. Amongst the other predictions at the end of this year, could we survive without something that we have grown so dependently on?
Just imagine for a second what would happen to the world or even your own city if all electrical grids failed. Without power our water supply would not be decontaminated as usual, lights and batteries would lose all of their “juice” to operate eventually, facilities (including mental health and jails) would cease to operate as they are completely dependant on power, and chaos would most likely ensue immediately. Just imagine defending your own home from those who are scavenging for supplies. One also has to wonder about all the convicts released at one time along with all of the mentally unstable population as well. What do you think they would do at a time like this? The police would certainly not be able to assist you, they would be too busy defending their own families; the military it would seem as well, once control was lost. This situation is the most damaging in terms of realistic events that are probable. Governments studies have shown that after 12 days of rioting, control is lost and damage is irreversible. This problem is something unlike theories that must be looked at vigilantly. Our whole way of life, economy, commerce, and food sources depend on our technology that is sensitive to atmospheric and solar activity. Few places around the world in third world countries still utilize the agrarian methods and could potentially survive the solar storms as well as the Amish and Mennonites located in the U.S. and Costa Rica. As far as developed countries go, they would be the biggest losers and have the gravest of damage done. Some might argue that we would go back to the stone age if this sort of event happens, however, governments such as the United States have stated that “preparations” have been made and alternatives have been considered.
Senior space agency scientists disagree on certain points as they have disclosed the effects of a solar magnetic storm such as this magnitude. National power grids, air travel, navigation devices all would cease; the very things most business and common population sectors depend on everyday with their lives. They have predicted that the storms would mostly likely be pertinent around the year 2013. NASA was adamant about preparation procedures for events such as these considering also emergency services, world health, and national security could have catastrophic consequences. The concern of magnetic energy and solar flares would ruin the world economy due to all electronic devices being sensitive to these phenomena. Calculations made would put a storm of this magnitude at 20 times the economic damage of hurricane Katrina of 2005! (more than $125 billion[85 billion pounds] )
Dr. Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics division stated the uncertainty of how bad the result would be. The only thing he was certain of was causing major problems for the world. He also reiterated that the solar effect would wipe out large areas of power that could take days to repair; if the storms dissipated of course. Conferences in Washington D.C as of 2010 have gathered researchers, policy-makers, NASA, and government officials together to discuss “space weather” and certain precautions to be made. As we think about all of the chaotic results to a solar magnetic storm such of this proportion, what could they do to stop it? Research has shown that most countries (even super developed) have weak power grids that could easily be destroyed in an event such as this. Dr. Fisher explained that the Sun’s level of radiation would be the most damaging to the world’s power grids. What could the radiation also do to our ecosystem and our own bodies for that fact? Although he did mention the seriousness of the situation, he did not believe that the whole world would be effected at once and for long periods of months.
The U.S. is doing work using satellites to study threats of this magnitude, and as mentioned before are taking the necessary steps to assure safety protocol in case of this event. Whatever the case may be, common sectors of cities might have to do without their laptops, PC’s, Ipods/Ipads, texting, 4G networks and all of their Twitter/Facebook friends and fans. This to me sounds more devastating than world blackouts. Just imagine all of the kids and young adults who wean their whole existence on these devices, do you think a riot would ensue? I couldn’t perceive most kids these days ever going outside to play in the sand as we used to do in the old days with a stick in our hand and nature as our inspiration. I believe an event like this would cause more devastation on a social level as equally on an economic level. At the gods mercy we would be to try to develop imagination, thoughts, creative thinking, and emotions; all concepts that technology has been doing for us ever since the Digital Age emerged. Anyway you look at it, we are in big trouble….
Rik Myslewski. “NASA: Civilization will end in 2013 (possibly).” The Register U.K. June, 2010.
Clara Moskowitz. “Solar Storms building toward peak in 2013.” Space ,MSNBC. July,2011.
Andrew Hough. “NASA warns solar flares from ‘huge space storm’ will cause devastation.” The Telegraph U.K. June, 2010.
©James Astrada 2012
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