Space weather is a significant threat to satellites in orbit. Since the dawn of the space age in 1957, 80 countries and intergovernmental organizations have launched more than 9,000 objects into space!!! The biggest threat to any human-made objects in the space are the solar storms that may substantially increase the flow of charged particles from the Sun. When solar particles hit a satellite, its solar panels and onboard electronics may experience radiation damage that would normally take several years in space to accumulate. These high energy particles may also cause malfunctions in satellite electronics and memory circuits, causing transient or permanent damage and potentially even causing the loss of the satellite. ‘If space weather forecasting is inaccurate, space storms can result in disruption in the operation of satellites, interruptions of communication, incorrect navigation data from GPS satellites, force the rerouting of polar flight paths, or set up ground induced currents that can severely impact the operation of power grids and pipelines,’ said Professor Robertus von Fay-Siebenburgen, who headed up a project called PROGRESS at the University of Sheffield in the UK.
Professor Robertus von Fay-Siebenburgen along with other scientists, has coordinated the work to improve the reliability of systems that predict space weather events by measuring the solar wind from distances further away from Earth than previously possible.
Solar activity follows a 11-year cycle of high and low periods. Those high periods are where the sun flings off massive bulks of charged plasma into space. These charged particles, when directed towards Earth, can impact the Earth as soon as half a day’s time, so in about 12 hours. When a cloud of plasma hits the magnetic field around the earth, it may trigger a geomagnetic storm that makes the radiation environment for the satellites much harsher than it is normally. Geomagnetic storms may also produce very high-energy electrons in the outer radiation belt that can permanently damage the electronics inside of a satellite. Large changes in the magnetic field near the Earth’s surface that are associated with geomagnetic storms can induce currents that flow through man-made structures such as railroad systems, power transmission lines, and pipelines. These currents can cause minor disruptions in service, or major problems such as blackouts affecting thousands of people. On 30 October 2003, a geomagnetic storm caused a power failure in Sweden and on 13 March 1989, six million people lost power when a geomagnetic storm caused a power grid failure in Quebec, Ontario. The Van Allen Probes will help develop better predictive models that could give technology operators a warning in advance of when their systems might be in danger from powerful electric currents induced by space weather phenomena. By investing in scientific research, we can make sure that for every potential threat, we have technological answers!
cc: EU research ,Ethan Billy, National Aeronautics and Space Admi,Melanie Hell and Juha-Pekka luntama
1/22/2022 10:43:53 pm
Great job Samik! Very informative and well written. Hope to see more posts soon!
1/25/2022 10:17:46 am
Thanks Lauren :)
1/23/2022 09:05:59 am
Awesome write up Samik .Keep up your good work 👍👏👏👏.
1/25/2022 10:18:37 am
Thank you :) Keep reading.
Leave a Reply.