05 September 2016 Community news

Is enough being done to save Earth from a catastrophic solar storm?

Press Release

Magnetic mapping of Earth by the ESA Swarm Satellites (red shows where the magnetic field is strengthening and blue shows where it is weakening). Picture courtesy of ESA.
Magnetic mapping of Earth by the ESA Swarm Satellites (red shows where the magnetic field is strengthening and blue shows where it is weakening). Picture courtesy of ESA.

Space safety experts are starting to raise some serious questions about just how prepared humanity is to tackle an impending calamitous solar storm that could see the end of Earth as we know it.

As Earth’s magnetic poles continue to shift, the likelihood of a solar storm hitting the planet is becoming greater – and the effects would be dire for humanity.

Writing in the latest issue of ROOM - The Space Journal,Joseph N Pelton, an executive board member of the International Association of Space Safety (IAASS) and former dean of the International Space University (ISU), said: “We humans, in fact, have become somewhat complacent about the natural protective systems that our six-sextillion ton spacecraft has to protect us from – solar storms, asteroids and cosmic rays.

“Over the course of the last half century, the world has finally begun to learn that a massive asteroid or comet strike could create havoc and ruin, on perhaps a planetary scale.

“But what we don’t have is a global understanding that there is a much more likely danger that is increasing over time and is a very real cosmic danger that could knock out our electric power grids, kill key satellite systems for communications and navigation and defence.

“This cosmic menace could knock out the time synchronization of the global Internet which is essential for it to continue to function day in, day out.

“A massive coronal mass ejection that brings millions of tons of ions travelling perhaps at two million kilometres an hour, similar to the Carrington Event of 1859, might leave the world’s economic systems and global infrastructure in shambles.”

The question now being asked by leading scientists is how to create a mega-structure which could save humanity from a massive solar storm by creating an artificial Van Allen electro-magnetic shield to protect Earth.

Such a structure could also be multi-functional, incorporating solar power satellites to beam back clean energy to Earth and acting as a way-station for efficient transportation to other points in the solar system such as the Moon, Mars or asteroids.

Joseph continues: “It is time for those leading our space agencies to consider what technologies they might conceive and implement to save Earth and the human race. To put not too fine a point on it, now is the time for them to start doing their truly core mission to save Earth.’

More information on this and related topics is published on the ROOM website.

A copy of the article on which this press release is based is available on request – please email mike@olsenmetrix.com

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