The time bomb is positioned right on our head, 150 million miles away from us. It heats us, gives us light, provides energy, allows the existence of life itself. From the dust generated by its birth, were created the Earth and other bodies of our planetary system. And when it dies, nothing of what exists in this tiny part of the cosmos will remain intact. The Sun looks at us from above as a father with two faces. The good one lasts for hundreds of years ensuring us heat and light, whereas the bad one bursts in a few seconds and produces devastating effects.
There are many ways a star can destroy us. Some of them are located at sidereal distances, capable of producing ray bursts powerful enough to literally disintegrate us. In the case of the Sun, which is smaller than some of his brothers scattered throughout the universe, the risks are low, but real. One of them is represented by solar flares, a violent eruption of matter that explodes from a star’s photosphere, releasing an amount of energy equivalent with tens of millions of atomic bombs. Lethal Radiation expands in space and finally hurts us. This is what NASA scientists fear. They have recently set off the alarm because of a giant solar eruption expected by 2022. The chances for it to happen are of 12%. The percentage is not very high, but we must not underestimate it. The explosion could reset our technological resources, transporting us back in time. Imagine the following scenario: computers are out of order, credit cards and cell phones are demagnetized, electrical networks have been swept away. The entire world as we know it, our certainties, our way of life itself would be annihilated in a few seconds. A slap in the face of man’s megalomania. We would rediscover ourselves helpless in front of nature’s power.
The last phenomenon of the kind, of which we are aware, is the so-called “Carrington event” (from the name of the physicist who studied sunspots in depth), the super solar storm that from August 28 to September 2, 1859 hit the Earth and destroyed most of the telegraph line in Europe and America, generating auroras visible even in Rome, Hawaii and in Jamaica.
US space agency’s alert was not unheeded: the White House is already working to individuate countermeasures. Palliative, of course, given that science is not yet able to avoid these electromagnetic storms, but still able to limit the consequences. “We absolutely need to put in practice, on a national level, a project that will allow us to fully understand this phenomenon, from every point of view, so as to be able to face it – said Bill Murtagh, a member of the office of science and technology of the American government -. The problem is real, danger is real”. The emergency plan is divided into six steps. But the most worrying factor is time: the current state of affairs would not allow experts to warn the population with a minimum notice of 15-60 minutes. Too little to save everyone. So far, the only available weapon is prevention. Citizens were invited to arrange reserves of basic necessities (food, water, and medicines) to face at least the first 72 hours of the disaster. The other measure consists in the creation of a network for the coordination of north American States and the world. So as to communicate and coordinate among themselves for the last time, before the end.
Translated by Ecaterina Severin