A solar storm is a 'global threat'
Researchers from the Met Office, Nasa and the European Space Agency (ESA) have gathered in London to discuss the threat of the phenomenon.
While space weather is largely irrelevant when it comes to human health, the way that it can affect our technology can be detrimental to our lifestyle and economies.
Solar storms blast radiation in all directions from the sun, some of which hits the outer atmosphere of Earth, causing it to heat up and expand.
This means satellite signals would struggle to penetrate the swollen atmosphere, leading to a lack of internet service, GPS navigation, satellite TV such as Sky and mobile phone signal.
Solar storms can unleash radiation towards Earth
Additionally, increased currents in the Earth’s magnetic field – or magnetosphere – could theoretically lead to a surge in power lines, which can blow out electrical transformers and power stations.
A recent survey said if there was a tech blackout as a result of a huge solar storm, like one being forecasted for 2020, it could cost global authorities as much as £32billion a day.
Solar storms can cause Earth's atmosphere to swell, making it difficult for satellite communication
This is why experts have met at the International Summit in London to discuss prevention methods and quick cures.
Professor Mike Hapgood, Head of Space Weather at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which is hosting the summit, said: “Space weather is a global threat and one to which the UK is particularly vulnerable because of our worldwide trading links.”
The experts propose sending a satellite to L5
One potential mission being touted is to send a space craft to the Lagrange 5 (L5) point – a position between the Sun and the Earth which is 150 million kilometres from our planet.
Positioning a satellite there would replace the current SOHO satellite there which is outdated and help deliver better space whether forecasts.
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Mark Gibbs, the Met Office’s Head of Space Weather, said, "An operational mission to L5 will fill a gap in our observing capability that will significantly improve our forecasting of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that threaten critical technological infrastructure around the globe.
“Although the UK has driven the requirement for an L5 mission over the last few years, the mission’s planning, execution and efficient use will be an international effort.”