The Big Solar Storm Headed Our Way Is Only a Preview of Worse to Come
To be clear, this storm, while it may cause problems for some satellites and will make for prettier aurorae in the arctic regions near the Earth's magnetic poles, the solar storm only ranks as an S3 on a scale that runs from S1 to S5.
What might happen when we get hit by a much bigger storm? A few years ago, I wrote about a very big storm in 1859 and found that there was so much current in the air that telegraphs could be run without their batteries. It'd be like if the air suddenly started charging your iPhone. Telegraph operators were (rightly) flabbergasted.
But that was way back at the beginning of the buildout of communications and electrical infrastructure. The damage resulting from a storm like that now would be much, much worse. The National Academies of Science found that if a storm like the 1859 one hit again, it could cause $1 trillion (yes, trillion) in damage.
Mae Carol Jemison aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour
Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.