NASA scientists have studied the effects of solar flares and Superflares. It seems that, while our planet is properly shielded, such an event posing a danger only to our communication systems, not our lives, the rest of the solar system is not that lucky.
In 1989 a solar eruption caused a 9-hour blackout in Quebec, leaving over 6 million people in the dark. However, that was only a small example of what the whims of the Sun could do to our technology.
Back in 1859 a Superflare, also known as the Carrington Event, caused panic among the inhabitants of our planet. Even though the level of technological development wasn’t incredible, communications were affected, the sky lit, and the people believed that the Sun was going to explode.
It seems that the Carrington Event is not the only incident involving a Superflare. According to the calculations of NASA astronomers, in 775 a giant solar flare reached our planet, causing a very potent geomagnetic storm.
Unfortunately, we have no means of checking the impact that the flare had on the human population that roamed the Earth at the time.
However, a geomagnetic storm is far from posing actual dangers to our lives. Luckily, we have a thick atmosphere that protects us from the other effects of such a solar occurrence.
Superflares are not only loaded with magnetic energy, but they also contain high, very lethal doses of cosmic and solar radiation. In the event in which the Mars mission will be en route, or even on the surface of the Red Planet when one occurs, the crew will die in a matter of minutes due to radiation poisoning.
NASA researchers are currently working on ways to keep the crew safe from such an unpredictable incident by testing out all kinds of emergency equipment.
Solar flares and Superflares are unpredictable. Their occurrence seems to be random, mathematicians and astronomers alike trying and failing to find a pattern of the explosions.
The good news is that in the case in which such a flare is emitted by the Sun while the Mars mission is happening, NASA found a way to detect them and warn the crew before the radiation reaches them.
Let’s hope that the Sun will be on its best behavior by 2030 when the first Mars Mission is scheduled to take place.
Image source: Wikipedia