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Sun May Disrupt Spacecraft and Satellites In Coming Decades

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the great-balls-of-fire dept.

Space 70

dtjohnson writes "A newly published study (abstract) predicts that solar storms are going to become increasingly disruptive to satellites and communications in the coming decades as the sun cycles towards a minimum of activity. 'The work, published in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that once the Sun shifts toward an era of lower solar activity, more hazardous radiation will reach Earth. The team says the Sun is currently at a grand solar maximum. This phase began in the 1920s — and has lasted throughout the space age....The evidence seems to indicate that although there are fewer solar storms once the Sun leaves its grand maximum, they are more powerful, faster and therefore carry more particles.'"

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It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (1)

master_p (608214) | about 3 years ago | (#37147348)

Just like Earth, a nice electromagnetic layer around spacecraft will do the trick.

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (2)

elsurexiste (1758620) | about 3 years ago | (#37147530)

But shouldn't this protection require massive amounts of energy to maintain?

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (3, Informative)

Shatrat (855151) | about 3 years ago | (#37147848)

No, small amounts of aluminum mesh.

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37148740)

Or spinning molten core of iron inside the spacecraft. :-)

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 3 years ago | (#37148506)

You just need to reverse the polarity of the neocronic (or whatever the particle of the week is) shield. At least that's the way it works in the Star Trek universe.

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37151190)

Like a balloon...and something bad happens!

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37150456)

But shouldn't this protection require massive amounts of energy to maintain?

Not really, all your doing is creating a large magnetic field that deflects the particles away from the spacecraft. The real problem is putting the hundreds of kilo's of electro-magnet and support infrastructure into space.

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 years ago | (#37148212)

Polarize the hull plating
at least til we invent shield technology
we could also reconfigure the main deflector dish.

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 3 years ago | (#37152176)

And don't forget to invert the polerization!

Re:It is time for electromagnetic shielding then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37148350)

It's time to become rich : I'll sell tinfoil hats :)

You must mean ORACLE may disrupt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147374)

didn't know larry elison had so much clout.

Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147376)

The sun is fucking awesome!

Figures. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147380)

Now that they've been bought out by Oracle, evil deeds are afoot.

Re:Figures. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37148700)

Fuck you, Oracle!

Reminds me of a hypothetical Microsoft purchase of Sun Microsystems. The headline would have read, "Microsoft Buys Sun", and thousands of people would look up into the sky and think, "I hope it doesn't crash..."

It's Bush's fault!! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147392)

It's all of those global warming denier's fault too...

Re:It's Bush's fault!! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 3 years ago | (#37148870)

If they would all just quit driving those SUV's, and switch to using two large $1.2M Canadian Buses instead, then all this GW stuff would stop.

corepirate nazi execrable censoring /. (hidden) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147414)

it's clearly an unproven mess, evidenced by the apparent need for even
more deceptive distracting sideshow style theatrics by our rulers & the
chosen ones' miniontic neogods' arrogance.

should it not be considered that the domestic threats to all of us/our
freedoms perpetrated by unsavory megalomaniacs be intervened on/removed,
so we wouldn't be compelled to hide our sentiments, &/or the truth, about
ANYTHING, including the origins of the hymenology council, & their sacred
mission (which is to protect & defend the whore of babylon, & the papers
of challenge she carries, which will put a cork in much of th deceptive
monkey business we've been subjected to)? with nothing left to
hide,there'd be room for so much more genuine quantifiable humankind

you call this 'weather'? much of our land masses/planet are going under
water, or burning up, as we fail to consider anything at all that really
matters, as we've been instructed that we must maintain our silence (our
last valid right?), to continue our 'safety' from... mounting terror.

meanwhile, back at the raunch; there are exceptions? the unmentionable
sociopath weapons peddlers are thriving in these times of worldwide
sufferance? the royals? our self appointed murderous neogod rulers? all
better than ok, thank..... us. their stipends/egos/disguises are secure,
so we'll all be ok/not killed by mistaken changes in the MANufactured
'weather', or being one of the unchosen 'too many' of us, etc...?

truth telling & disarming are the only mathematically & spiritually
correct options. read the teepeeleaks etchings. see you there?

diaperleaks group worldwide.

ahab the arab's 'funniest' home vdo;

Re:corepirate nazi execrable censoring /. (hidden) (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 years ago | (#37147542)

We really should have a "-1, Incoherent Babbling" mod option.

1/3 of posts on /. censored (hidden) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147764)

a subtle yet coherently disgusting style of censorship 'light'

as for 'babbling'; carry on with the critique.

as for the the rest;

confusion surrounds cancellation of $.5m terror tolerance stipends

the usual rumours; that we're going to get it, or nothing at all, on the
backend of our terror. so, once one lie is 'infactated', the rest becomes
just more errant fatal history.

disarm. tell the truth. the sky is not ours to toy with after all?

you call this 'weather'? what with real history racing up to correct
itself, while the chosen one's holycostal life0cider mediots continually
attempt to rewrite it, fortunately, there's still only one version of the
truth, & it's usually not a long story, or a confusing multiple choice
fear raising event.

world wide disarmament is taking place based on the pure intentions of the
majority of the planet's chosen to be depopulated, population. as the
biblical fiction based chosen ones have only one ability, which is
destruction for personal gain, they just don't fit in with all the new
life extending stuff that's we're being advised to ignore. life likes to
continue, advance etc... deception & death appear to have similar
ambitions. with try terror first tuesday upon us, wouldn't this be a great
time to investigate the genuine native elders social & political
leadership initiative, which includes genuine history as put forth in the
teepeeleaks etchings. the natives still have no words in their language to
describe the events following their 'discovery' by us, way back when. they
do advise that it's happening again.

diaperleaks group worlwide

even more censorship;
Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment
posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post.
However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege
could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in
the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone
else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair,
please email with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID,
which are always changing, you butthead

Re:corepirate nazi execrable censoring /. (hidden) (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37148604)

That wouldn't terribly useful unless you could also moderate articles.

Sun? Oh how the mighty have fallen... (5, Funny)

Binestar (28861) | about 3 years ago | (#37147432)

I knew Oracle buying Sun would be a bad thing, but seriously, why would they want to screw up our communication system?

Re:Sun? Oh how the mighty have fallen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147966)

Wrong sun.
If Oracle had bought the sun we would be sitting in complete darkness, unless we paid for a 2 year service contract.

Per eye.

Re:Sun? Oh how the mighty have fallen... (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37148718)

If Oracle had bought the sun we would be sitting in complete darkness, unless we paid for a 2 year service contract.

The punchline to the joke, "How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?" comes to mind...

None. They just declare darkness the new standard...

Re:Sun? Oh how the mighty have fallen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147978)


Re:Sun? Oh how the mighty have fallen... (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 3 years ago | (#37150290)

It was prophesied to happen.

I knew Larry Ellison was evil.... (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 3 years ago | (#37147436)

First the Java mess, and now this... :(

Re:I knew Larry Ellison was evil.... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#37147554)

The real problem was that they used instead of java.nio.

Re:I knew Larry Ellison was evil.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147890)

Hmm, are we on the same wavelength ?

Very good


Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147442)

Larry Ellison really is a galactic asshole.

not all bad tho. (1)

g00mbasv (2424710) | about 3 years ago | (#37147450)

so I guess it also means fewer but more spectacular aurora borealis.

Re:not all bad tho. (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 years ago | (#37147600)

I was thinking maybe the Copper Tone Corporation could come up with a "solution?" Something like SPF 25, followed by many zeros.

In other news... (1)

JStyle (833234) | about 3 years ago | (#37147470)

something out of our control affects something in our control.

Sun Shmun (0)

Nail (1195) | about 3 years ago | (#37147472)

The Sun can't even vary the Earths _temperature_ as much as mere human beings. If the title was "Man May Disrupt Spacecraft and Satellites In Coming Decades" it would be far more believable.

Re:Sun Shmun (0)

rwven (663186) | about 3 years ago | (#37147628)

Argh. beat me to it!

Re:Sun Shmun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147886)

This is NOT going to change the climate because we can't tax it, or blame it on anyone.

Re:Sun Shmun (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 3 years ago | (#37156074)

Oh, like the investigation of Earth's crust hasn't revealed that the global temperature has risen and fallen over and over again at an almost steady rate since before the first layer of dinosaur fossils.

Crap happens in the universe and we're affected, too. We aren't the cause of "global warming"; we can only be a slight catalyst. Given the trends as compared with past activity before Humans even existed, we've hardly exacerbated the effects.

Do I think we should pollute? Hell no. Do I think that resource reservation is a bad idea? NO. Do I think we are the cause of all problems on a planet the size of Earth? NO!

Perfect example of pride at its best. We don't control the future, we are only a blip on its radar.

Keep in mind those magic things called "volcanoes" and "ocean vents" that release more CO2, CO, and other global warming compounds; they all release more in a day than humans release in a year without breaking a sweat.

may? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147552)

It may or could effect it. Wow those are some strong statements. I may jump of a cliff today too. China could launch a nuclear attack on the US before anything in the article happens.

omg oracle!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147782)

HAHAH hey guys has anyone made a comparison to sun microsystems and oracle yet?!?! there's an original joke in there somewhere! LOL


Re:omg oracle!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147808)

I was going to put in something about sunspots and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, but didn't want to add another cheese joke. They just have to ruin it for everyone.

Re:omg oracle!!! (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37148732)

"...but didn't want to add another cheese joke..."

I donno, that might have been a very gouda pun...

Re:omg oracle!!! (1)

Iskender (1040286) | about 3 years ago | (#37150482)

If the moon was made of cheese would it still be outside Earth's rochefort limit?

At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Gore? (-1, Flamebait)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 3 years ago | (#37147896)

Where are you. We need encouragement to feed the Washington feed trough with global warming mediation dollars.

Al Gore, speak out, please.

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (1)

Arlet (29997) | about 3 years ago | (#37148062)

The slight cooling effect will likely be overwhelmed by CO2 warming happening at the same time.

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (0)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 3 years ago | (#37148282)

Upon what do you base your assertion?

Show me the math. Show me a computer that starts at 1900 with known solar activity, atmospheric and sea surface temperature observations, and CO2 levels, then accurately tracks observations through 2011, and I will believe you. If a model can't yield results that we've already observed, the model is wrong and cannot be trusted to yield correct predictions.

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 years ago | (#37150804)

Here [] is a peer reviewed paper that says if the Sun's activity level returned to a new grand minimum like the Maunder minimum it would reduce the projected temperature rise in 2100 by no more than 0.3C. I think that's a reasonable basis for the assertion.

Since the paper is paywalled you can see a summary of it here [] .

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37151000)

And in the absence of ABSOLUTE, UNARGUABLE proof that this is the case, it would be foolish of us to be prepared, of course. Sort of like how we should keep decimating the environment until we are ABSOLUTELY sure we're fucking it up beyond repair, amirite?

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 3 years ago | (#37181520)

When "being prepared" means "changing the way the entire global economy works" and "the government forcing everyone to deeply alter much their lives" and "transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to generalissimos who blame Westerners for their own tribal civil wars", yeah. Absolute, inarguable proof is demanded.

If a computer model can't achieve observed results with an observed dataset, the model is WRONG. No amount of self-loathing white-mans-burden bullshit or profiteering on carbon-credit exchanges will change that.

Are you right? No. You are not.

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (0)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 3 years ago | (#37148584)

The sun has absolutely no effect on Global Warming. This is one of the Global Warming tenets. Just google all the articles about this. Only man can effect Global Warming. Volcanoes, sunspots, comet strikes, and atomic Godzilla attacks will have a miniscule effect compared to one SUV.

Re:At a Minimum...It is going to be colder...Al Go (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 years ago | (#37150726)

Of course the Sun affects the climate on the Earth. The global warming tenet you're talking about is that the Sun has not changed its output enough over the past half century plus to account for the changes we're seeing.

The moon doesn't pull shit like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37147908)

Stolen from The Onion.

I thought Sun was sold off to Oracle... (1)

crovira (10242) | about 3 years ago | (#37147998)

Boy... That Larry Ellison....

We are already seeing the effect of this... (2)

quetwo (1203948) | about 3 years ago | (#37148092)

In the past few years we have seen more and more hits of our communication systems because of flare-ups from the Sun. Heck, just last year we had a pretty major television sattelite "Galaxy-11" knocked out and left for dead because of a solar flare (they have since been able to regain control of it after declaring it as space-trash and getting it ready to burn it up in the atomosphere). So much of our communications systems are tied to sattelites and long-range RF communication systems that are vunerable to these flare up that this will become more and more of a problem as time goes on...

Obvious BS (0)

cdrguru (88047) | about 3 years ago | (#37148576)

The climate change deniers would certainly like there to be increased solar activity, so clearly this information has to be the product of a oil company PR department.

We can't possibly have increased solar activity, but we can have increased interference with satellites caused by carbon emissions from power plants, cars, boats and airplanes. It must be all those stray carbon atoms that are causing problems rather than the sun.

I suppose the CO2 from Earth could be reaching out to the Sun and causing it to interfere with communications, but it seems far more probable that all this is caused by Republicans creating more and more CO2.

After all, aren't we counting on the Sun to provide for our energy needs into the future? It was good enough for Man before we started burning fossil fuels, so it should be good enough for us in the future as well.

Re:Obvious BS (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 3 years ago | (#37148920)

...and those darn "corporate jets" that Obama complains about right before he gets on Air Force One for Martha's Vineyard to hob nob with the Democractic corporate jet owners who must fly using recycled McDonald's oil and glitter. So hypocritical but I digress. To relive two weeks ago...add this to the list of crap that newly discovered anti-matter belt around the Earth will have to protect us from. []

Re:Obvious BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37151014)

Good god, you're like the eleventh person to believe they were insightful for this attempt at making a point. Please, educate yourself instead of drooling all over us.

Drake Equation (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 3 years ago | (#37148864)

So if stars have a window in which space travel is possible for life on planets in the goldilocks zone, and that window can close cutting those planets off from space travel (or severely restrict it), how does this effect the Drake Equation for being able to find other intelligent life in the universe? Life would need to advance at a rate such that it can exploit space effectively at the right time or become planet-locked.

LORAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37149234)

So glad we still have Loran for when Glonass Galileo and Navstar get sunburn....

Oh wait.. budget cuts. Bummer.

Misleading headline. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37149828)

Did anyone else think, "Wow, those folks at Oracle are really taking the patent wars seriously!" before reading the summary?

Attack the Sun! (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 3 years ago | (#37150322)

It is obvious that we need to launch a multinational military expedition to subdue the Sun and bring it under control for the safety of our satellites and spacecraft.

Of course, for the protection of our troops, this operation will have to be carried out at night.

it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 3 years ago | (#37150898)

Uhuh, something that hasn't ever happened yet will be a major problem in the future. Hide in fear, everyone.

Like we'd ever let space radiation take out all of civilization. If it started to become a problem -- especially gradually over-decades if at all -- welcome to science. See a problem, work to solve it, solve it eventually. And with all of the money that would go in to solving that particular problem, I imagine it'd be solved within 2 years, which would mean that it wouldn't ever grow to be a consumer-level problem in the first place.

What, did you expect us to solve a potential problem in advance of the problem even appearing? Of course not.

So here's my rewrite of the story:

"The future may present a problem in some way for past technology. We'll deal with it by using newer technology."

Thanks for the .F.U.D..

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 years ago | (#37151038)

Umm, here is some information on the solar storm of 1859 [] that did disrupt telegraph lines as well having other spectacular effects around the world. The world is massively more wired today than it was back then so I would expect the effects on civilization to be massively greater too. Of course it's hit or miss whether we get a direct hit like we did in 1859 so maybe you're right but if we do get hit like that I expect it will take several years and maybe even a decade to fully recover from.

I had to laugh when I read your post because the quote at the bottom of the page was "Famous last words." I could apply.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 3 years ago | (#37151082)

Heh, that is funny.

It won't take years to fully recover. I'd bet that if every satelite were destroyed on the same day, within 1 month we'd have them all replaced. Think about all of the companies currently profitting from satellites. They'd all pay to get things back up and running.

So we'd have a month of no mobile phones. You'd buy landlines. Things wolud change, drastically, for a month. It'd be fine.

But still, it won't happen in a single day. We'd lose only half of the satellites -- the other half would be shielded by an entire planet: the Earth itself. So non-essential services would be down. Long-distance telephone calls would be more expensive. You wouldn't buy something from more than 5'000 kilometres away. All of that's perfectly fine.

You wouldn't lose food. You wouldn't lose water. The oceans wouldn't boil. No animals would get hurt in any way. Your house will remain standing, along with every building. You'd need to take the stairs for two days until the elevator becomes functional again.

People would learn that their garage doors can be opened manually by pulling the cord that's been hanging there for years.

We're talking about an issue that is not a problem for humans at all, and is a huge problem for only two groups -- business and military. There doesn't exist any entity on this planet or in orbit that spends more money than business and military.

So I promiss you, they'll rebuild in really short order.

And then, there are the giant redwoods -- the sequoias -- my all-time favourite trees, and possibly my fourth-favourite living thing (after pereguin falcons, cheetahs, and jelly-fish, in no particular order). These trees are actually fire-resistant. Which means that they wait for naturally-ocurring forest-fires, survive, and then throw seeds. A crazy stupid number of seeds -- billions I think. Teeny tiny seeds -- microscopic I think. These seeds need to protection, because everything else is dead. They compete with nothing, because everything else is dead. And it's all mineral-rich ash, so they benefit from the fire. It's awesome.

Business works the same way. If all of your competitors just lost everything, and all you had to do was to spend some money and you'd be the only one to survive, now that's an easy investment. What a great race.

And if all of your competitors just lost everything, and all you had to do was to innovate a new way of doing things without using the old way -- which was already out-dated, by the way -- and you'd be the only one to survive, that too is an easy investment.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 years ago | (#37151336)

It won't take years to fully recover. I'd bet that if every satelite were destroyed on the same day, within 1 month we'd have them all replaced.

My, aren't you optimistic. Do you think there are a bunch of spare satellites just laying around waiting to be launched from spare rockets waiting to launch them? Rrriiiggghhhttt! If every useful satellite in orbit were destroyed it would probably take at least 5 years to replace them. It takes more than a year just to build most of them and there's not enough production capacity to build that many at once.

We'd lose only half of the satellites -- the other half would be shielded by an entire planet: the Earth itself.

Many of the useful satellites are orbiting in geosynchronous orbit. Most satellites are powered by solar cells so they can't afford to be out of the sunlight that much of the time. On top of that what causes the problem is not electromagnetic radiation but charged particles that the Earth's magnetic field could easily suck into the umbra anyway.

You are right that there wouldn't be a large effect on the natural world but your house might burn down because of the excess voltage generated in the wiring. The electric grid may fail spectacularly taking out a bunch of transformers, another thing that takes time to build and doesn't have a lot of spares available. The electronic module in your vehicle might be trashed making the car unusable. Same thing with your cell phone. I'm not saying all of that is going to happen but none of it is outside of the realm of possibility.

Business depends on their suppliers so if they can't deliver to you then you can't do much.

I'm with you on the falcons and cheetahs. I've had a picture of a cool cheetah wearing shades hanging on my office wall for over a decade. Sequoia seeds are small but not microscopic. They're around 4-5 mm in size including the wing and a mature tree produces around 300,000-400,000 of them in a year. They are pretty awesome trees though. I've stood on the stump of one that was cut down that was as big as the area of my 1,200 sq. ft. house.

In the end I just think you're very optimistic about what it will take to recover from a massive direct hit from a solar storm. I think it would affect practically everything electric and electronic around the planet. On the bright side the fiber optic cables would be unaffected but that doesn't do much good if the electronics that feed them are screwed.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 3 years ago | (#37153918)

Ever heard of supply-and-demand curves? Zero supply and huge demand results in enormous production capacity, immediately.

Excess voltage in the wiring isn't stopped by electronics, it's stopped by a fuse. All household-level safety measures are physical/mechanical ones, for that very reason. My house won't burn down.

The electric grid would most certainly fail, but any gas-generator can solve that problem. And gas generators can be built in minutes and sold door-to-door. There are even adapters to make your car power your home. You also don't need anywhere near the amount of electricity that you use now, in such a scenario.

The solar flares won't reach my car in the garage, or underground. So most cars will still be operational. And there are car parts available everywhere, so most broken cars will be fixed immediately. My cell phone won't work. Then one service provider will run aronud replacing their towers, and in one week it'll all be back.

And as you said, not everything is going to break, let alone at the same time, so it's really not that bad.

Their suppliers are also businesses. And suppliers are even more motivated. Not to worry.

You missed the jelly-fish. Look up trans-differentiation. Tell me another species that can go from adulthood to childhood and restart its life multiple times.

Yes I'm optimistic, and here's why. If everything breaks, you wind up with a few billion people who now have nothing to do. They can't work, they can't play. I think they'll rebuild, full-time. You have every level of professional, and a wicked number of dollars with which to do it.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 years ago | (#37154478)

Yes, the demand may be huge but to think that satellites could be replaced in a month or two is ridiculous. There aren't that many firms with the expertise and talent to build satellites around and it takes time to ramp up that sort of capacity.

The electromagnetic effects of a solar flare certainly could reach your car in it's garage. They could reach the replacement electronics sitting on the shelf. It's like an electromagnetic pulse. A fuse is not necessarily going to protect you if it's strong enough and your house wiring picks it up.

Admittedly I'm talking about worse case scenarios but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

I'm pretty neutral about jellyfish so I didn't comment on them. They do have an interesting life cycle though.

Practical logistics says it's going to take a year or two to get things organized and ramped up after a massive disruption. We build electronic navigation equipment where I work and some of the parts we use have 8 or 10 month lead times. The earthquake in Japan has caused us issues with some supplies. A global disruption is going to be even worse.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 3 years ago | (#37154832)

It is out of the realm of possibility because we're not talking about three houses catching fire. We're talking about enough houses catching fire that we need to talk about them. And that, you agree, isn't going to happen. Which means that for this conversation, it won't happen.

Same goes for everything else. On the spectrum of insignificant to worst case scenario, the mean will be light damage. And that can be dealt with in a few months.

My point was actually to your last statement. Earthquake and floods are way more destructive than solar flares and .E.M.P.. So I agree that japan floods will take over a year to resume normal life, this wouldn't.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 years ago | (#37155126)

Well, you're talking best case scenario, I'm talking worse case scenario. Actual results are likely to be somewhere in between if we get an event like the 1859 solar storm. Here's an article from March 2011 in National Geographic [] on the subject. Some of the comments are interesting too.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

Kagura (843695) | about 3 years ago | (#37158268)

It is out of the realm of possibility because . . . it won't happen.

It has already happened once in the Solar Storm of 1859 [] . We're not sitting around discussing how we'll survive when the sun begins fusing helium in 5 billion years, or when a nearby supernova goes off in a million years, or when the Andromeda Galaxy collides with our galaxy in roughly 3 billion years, or a hypothetical impact event that occurs only once every 50 million years. We're talking about a real, non-negligible chance of a large solar flare like was witnessed 150 years ago on their primitive telegraph instruments, one that would be absolutely, positively devastating were it to occur again in today's world at the same intensity witnessed before.

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 3 years ago | (#37158988)

You're not reading. We're not talking about solar storms. We're talking about solar storms wiping out technology as we know it. That, my friend, has never happened.

You're trying to relate an event 150-years old and compare what it might do today if... ...if it happened today ...if it happens the same way ...if nothing stops it -- like jupiter gets in the way this time ...if we understand how it would interact with today's technology ...if our observations then were accurate -- without todays instruments ...if we kept those records properly -- "broken telephone" is a child's game for a reason ...if we know how to apply them to today -- how many times has someone had the chance to try?

You don't know anything with any degree of certainty. That means you're supposed to think, test, observe, and analyse. It also means you're specifically not supposed to conclude anything at all. That's science.

If you want to fear something that you know nothing about, that's religion, and it has no rightful place -- outside of brainwashing and controlling masses of course..

Re:it hasn't happened, worry, (1)

cfalcon (779563) | about 3 years ago | (#37155624)

Mobile phones don't use satellites. Those are sat-phones, and you don't have one (though you could, if you cared).

If we lost ALL the sats, we'd be pretty fucked for awhile, much longer than a month, and the replacements wouldn't be up there quickly if they were gonna get blasted again. Also note that landline transmission is as likely as a cellphone to be transferred over satellite.

But yes, it would be recoverable. Eventually.

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