A new study from the National Academy of Sciences outlines grim possibilities on Earth for a worst-case scenario solar storm.
Damage to power grids and other communications systems could be catastrophic, the scientists conclude, with effects leading to a potential loss of governmental control of the situation.
The prediction is based in part on major solar storm in 1859 caused telegraph wires to short out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires.
It was perhaps the worst in the past 200 years, according to the new study, and with the advent of modern power grids and satellites, much more is at risk.
“A contemporary repetition of the  event would cause significantly more extensive (and possibly catastrophic) social and economic disruptions,” the researchers conclude.
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