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Is the Sun about to destroy every single piece of electronics you own?

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We, and by “we” I mean all life on Planet Earth, owe our very existence to the Sun. It’s nothing more than a typical star, really, but without it, this planet would be as barren as the day is long. (CG: Your home for old-timey phrases.) With that in mind, here’s what could become a pretty important story as we move forward. NASA now believes that, for much of the modern era, the Sun has been, for lack of a better term, “asleep.” What happens, then, to our electricity-based infrastructure when the Sun “wakes up”? The Solar Wind has already blown away the atmospheres of planets lacking a magnetosphere, so what else does the Sun have up its sleeve?

The Doomsday Scenario is as follows:

The Sun wakes up—think increased solar flares, sun spots, you name it. All these things can have a direct impact on the electrical systems here on Earth. Anything that uses electricity, then, could be at risk. Your iPhone. Your Nintendo DS. Your bank’s computer servers, GPS. Air travel. Traffic lights. All of these things could be completely knocked offline. We don’t really know how large, or how small, the impact of a proper solar storm because we haven’t seen one in the modern era.

We could potentially be looking at a scenario where our already teetering economic system could be subjected to a jolt that twenty times worse than Hurricane Katrina.

What a time to be alive!

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