Space Storm Could Black Out US East Coast for Two Years
by Karin Zeitvogel
Jun 12, 2013
Severe space “weather” can knock out satellite communications and GPS systems, expose space tourists and astronauts to dangerous levels of radiation, and even cause massive blackouts on Earth that could last up to two years, scientists and NASA officials warned.
A sun storm on the scale of one that happened in 1859, which was recorded by British brewer and amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, would potentially have sweeping consequences on huge population clusters in the United States, experts at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum said.
“The United States population that is at risk of an extended power outage from a Carrington-level storm is between 20-40 million, with an outage duration of possibly 16 days to one to two years,” said Kathryn Sullivan, the first woman to walk in space and now the acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which hosted Tuesday’s conference.