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After every 100 years, the Sun propels an enormous wave of charged particles towards Earth. This was not a complication in the past but with the advent of new technology today’s civilization is now severely pregnable to these solar storms. A new research quantifies the economic possibilities created by these paramount solar storms, at the same time suggesting a superlative futuristic answer to a predicament: an Earth-sized shield built in outer space.

Solar storm means the unwanted material that the Sun can throw at us like x-rays, charged particles, and magnetized plasma. In 1859, a sequence of influential coronal mass ejections (CMEs) banged into our planet head on, deranging telegraph stations and generate extensive communication outages. If a powerful solar storm was to bang onto our earth today it would create havoc. It would disrupt satellites, electrical grids, global communications, transportation, and supply chains. Global losses would be raised up to $10 trillion, with many years spent on recovery.

There is yet no confirmation when the next Carrington-like event will take place. However, a 2012 paper proposed that one can happen in the next decade. Like the earthquake prone city constructed above a pair of colliding fault lines, it’s a matter of time before our planet is hit by the next Big One. The dreadful part is that the humans are fast becoming unprotected to these events owing to unwavering technological advances.

A new paper by Manasvi Lingam and Avi Loeb from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics propose the economic effects of a substantial solar storm in the future when our dependence on technology will be far greater than today. Lingam and Loeb also say that construction of a massive shield in space will be more economical than to bear the consequences of a solar storm.

 

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