According to a recent report, a solar storm is arriving close to the earth. It is likely to destroy the infrastructure and result in an ‘Internet Apocalypse’. A research paper published by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi at the University of California and VMWARE research indicates the arrival of a solar storm.
It reports that the massive solar storm is likely to cause an internet blackout around this globe. If this happens then this could completely modify the digital world forever.
What is a solar storm?
A Solar Storm is a sudden flash of high brightness on the sun. It is observed close to the surface of the sun near a collection of sunspots. These flares are powerful with a coronal mass ejection. It can also be described as numerous eruptions consisting of mass and energy from the solar surface.
A solar storm suddenly releases magnetic energy from the sun. The solar winds are filled with energy. It can temporarily disrupt the magnetic field of a planet. In turn, it disturbs mobile phone signals, GPS signals, blinding satellites, and even causes a big power outage.
In her work, Abdu Jyothi has mentioned that the land internet infrastructure will be at less risk for damage. The reason is that it mostly utilizes fiber optic. She described the research at SIGCOMM 2021 data communication conference.
But, the undersea cables connecting continents can be in danger. The undersea cables are longer than the ones on land. Even though they might be made of fiber optics as repeaters on the job of amplifying the current can fail. The amplifiers at regular intervals are prone to failure. It is a threat during a solar storm.
According to the research, if the repeaters go offline then it shall cause an internet blackout. This will affect the internet users whose internet comes from undersea cable networks.
On the other hand, many solar storms occurred earlier in 1859, 1921, and recently in 1989. The solar storm of 1989, affected the Hydro-Quebec power grid. As a result, there was a power blackout for 9 hours in northeast Canada. She also claimed in her research that we are not fully prepared to face the results of the next solar storm that might hit the earth.
What is the sight of a solar storm?
The aurora observed in the sky of the North and South poles has a similar concept. The solar wind takes the charged particles like solar protons in the upper atmosphere of the earth.
This solar storm poses a direct threat to the internet system. In the present world governance, manufacturing, banking, education, etc are also in danger.
The modern-day fiber cables are immune to the threat of such a storm. The modern-day internet is designed in a way that in case of failure on one route will divert its users to another route of the internet. But, it takes time and increases the cost of speed and connectivity.