A Strong Solar Storm Can Cause the Internet to Go Down for Months

Nov 28, 2023 - Views: 324

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A scientist cautions that a solar superstorm might soon bring about the dreaded "internet apocalypse." 

It has been comparatively quiet since the internet came of age, according to lead researcher Professor Peter Becker of George Mason University.

However, there's a 10% chance that in the next ten years, "something really large will occur that could potentially wipe out the internet." 

A strong solar storm can cause months-long Internet outages

A strong solar storm can cause months-long Internet outages

Becker cited the Carrington Event of 1859 as the last instance of a coronal mass ejection (CME).

It is a massive outflow of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun's corona that has the potential to warp Earth's magnetic field. 

Critical infrastructure, including satellites, power grids, radio transmitters, GPS, and navigation systems, and communications equipment, can be disrupted by a CME that is headed toward Earth. 

Additionally, it is anticipated that solar storms will intensify and worsen.

Described as "literally sparks flying off the telegraph lines, it literally took out the telegraph system," Becker explained the Carrington Event to FOX Weather. 

"So you lay that on top of the internet with its very delicate electronics, talking about something that could really fry the system for several weeks to months in terms of the time it would take to repair all infrastructure." 

A situation like this may cause the US to lose between $10 and $20 billion every day in economic upheaval, according to Becker. 

As the sun gets closer to its most active phase, the chance of solar superstorms has increased. 

The sun will peak—the culmination of its 11-year cycle—between January and October 2024, as stated by experts at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. 

Read more: A New Fiber-Based Internet Network Is Being Developed

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