NASA has announced the development of Solar Shield- a new defensive measure against powerful solar flares that could damage orbiting satellites and electrical grids on Earth.
Solar Shield is designed to provide forewarning on incoming solar storms. The new project will foretell the harshness of the solar storms at specific locations to allow electrical grids to plan responses and limit the probable damage.
The new project will chiefly forewarn against massive sun eruptions, known as coronal mass ejections, which are capable of shooting off billions of tons of plasma plus charged particles.
Currently, the sun is going through an active phase of its eleven-year solar weather cycle. As per scientists’ estimates, the peak of the running cycle will hit in the year of 2013.
When the coronal mass ejections merges with the Earths magnetic field, a massive amount of energy is transmitted to the geomagnetosphere. This massive amount of current can hurt satellites and astronauts in space, and power grids on Earth.
Powerful coronal mass ejections can overburden or damage power grids, which could result into blackout that could last for months.
Research associate Antti Pulkkinen at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said that Solar Shield would provide "much more specificity."
Pulkkinen added that the Solar Shield project was still in the experimental stage. He urged more power companies to join the project so that it could be improved.