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07 June, 2010

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather - NASA Science: "Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that's new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting...

... 'The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss.'

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report... It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina..."


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