In 2018, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) predicted that a massive solar storm or geomagnetic storm was heading towards the Earth and would cause damage worth trillions. There were reports that solar storm will damage the satellite-based technology and cause damage worth trillions. However, nothing as such happened. But have you ever thought what would happen if a massive solar storm hit the Earth?
If a massive solar storm hit the earth directly, the entire planet would go into darkness. The solar storm is a giant cloud of hot plasma and electromagnetic radiation that the sun ejects when it opens its coronal holes. The phenomenon is called coronal mass ejection (CME).
In 2012 when the rumours of the apocalypse were at its peak, the sun had ejected out a huge amount of CME towards the earth’s orbit. We were lucky that our earth was not in the same part of the orbit, therefore, missed a direct hit.
However, we had received a direct hit back in 1859 when solar flares set telegraph pylons on fire. During that time, the telegraph was the sole technology the world had. But in 2019, technology is running our entire planet. It has become a part of our daily life and if a CME hit us today, it would could much more damage than we can imagine.
Within 30 minutes, the flares would reach Earth’s magnetosphere and trigger a geomagnetic storm. The GPS system of airplanes would fail. The geomagnetic storm would then result in melting of our transformers and the world would face a complete power outage. ATMs would stop working, I know Indians have suffered this during demonetisation, but it would be at a global level.