Science-people at NASA have reported that the Earth narrowly escaped a solar storm that would have, in their words, knocked “modern civilization back to the 18th century.” And there's a pretty sizable chance it will repeat and hit us in the next decade.
From the Raw Story:
The extreme space weather that tore through Earth’s orbit on July 23, 2012, was the most powerful in 150 years, according to a statement posted on the US space agency website Wednesday.
“If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire,” said Daniel Baker, professor of atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado.
Now imagine the infrastructure spending needed to recover from such a solar crisis. Some guys with fancy shmancy degrees did...
...The National Academy of Sciences has said the economic impact of a storm like the one in 1859 could cost the modern economy more than two trillion dollars and cause damage that might take years to repair.
Experts say solar storms can cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything from radio to GPS communications to water supplies — most of which rely on electric pumps.
By comparison, the terrible terrorist attack on 9/11 cost $178 billion, according to an estimate of the toll on the economy and direct costs. And they calculated what the chance is that we won't be as fortunate next time the sun flares up:
There is a 12 percent chance of a super solar storm the size of the Carrington event hitting Earth in the next 10 years, according to physicist Pete Riley, who published a paper in the journal Space Weather earlier this year on the topic.
“Initially, I was quite surprised that the odds were so high, but the statistics appear to be correct,” said Riley.
Actually it just makes me want to drink more. Here I thought the sun was our friend, and now science tells me it's trying to kill me and take away my iPhone. Thanks, science.
Ed.note: This article was edited after publication.