The US Department of Homeland Security and NASA referred to a “low probability event, but with high impact”, according to The Independent.
Solar storms occur when massive amounts of energy are released by the sun and come into contact with Earth’s magnetic field. Small storms have already hit Earth and one time caused a blackout in Sweden.
In 2012 there was a more dangerous situation when a solar flare caused a “coronal mass ejection” that barely missed Earth.
In 1859 there was a geomagnetic storm called “Carrington Event”, which if it occured today, could affect modern technology for several years: GPS, air travel and computer systems. It would take years to recover from the damages. Lloyd’s of London said that the repair of communications could cost up to 2.6 trillion.
“Once the systems start falling, this could lead to effects that we can’t even conceive”, said Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.
The US government seeks to find ways to prevent the collapse of electronic systems if a space or weather related event takes place. Recently, a conference was held among experts and government officials to discuss various ideas.