A solar disaster isn't a question of if, but when--and it looks like soon
By Damon Tabor
Posted 06.30.2011 at 3:08 pm 24 Comments
One of the biggest disasters we face would begin about 18 hours after the sun spit out a 10-billion-ton ball of plasma--something it has done before and is sure to do again. When the ball, a charged cloud of particles called a coronal mass ejection (CME), struck the Earth, electrical currents would spike through the power grid. Transformers would be destroyed. Lights would go out. Food would spoil and--since the entire transportation system would also be shut down--go unrestocked.
What a predicted 2013 blast from the sun could mean for the U.S.
By Damon Tabor
Posted 06.09.2011 at 12:30 pm 17 Comments
On Tuesday, the biggest solar flare in four years erupted from the sun, sending a mass of charged particles hurtling towards Earth. NASA announced that it was an M-2 (medium-sized) flare and an S1-class (minor) radiation storm. The electromagnetic pulse it induced created amazing auroras, but it could also damage satellites and radio communications. What would happen with an even stronger, larger flare? Something terrible...
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.