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AI Could Keep Electronics Safe From Solar Storms

We predict the next explosion coming

  • Israeli space and meteorological researchers have found a way to use AI to predict solar radiation flares.
  • Solar storms can destroy satellites and cause other damage.
  • In February, SpaceX was launched in a geomagnetic storm, losing 40 Starlink satellites.

MARK GARLICK/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Artificial intelligence (AI) could soon help protect us from solar storms, or at least tell us when a storm is coming.

Israeli space and meteorological researchers report using AI to predict solar radiation flares up to 96 hours before they occur. Huge solar explosions are likely to hit the Earth with unpredictable consequences, but could include the destruction of satellites.

“The impact of these storms can be very different.[it can affect] power supply and network security, communications, satellite operation and collision avoidance, spacecraft charging and damage; [lead to] radiation exposure [for] Astronauts, commercial aircraft passengers, crew members, and more.

storm watcher

Scientists have been predicting damaging solar storms more accurately for decades. However, Mehta said, “We still have a long way to go before we can reliably predict the likelihood of solar storms and their impacts.”

In a recent article in the Astrophysical Journal, remote sensing expert Yuval Reuveni of Ariel University in Israel says that her team has invented a new method of predicting solar storms called convolutional neural networks. The technology uses deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to examine the X-ray measurements of satellites.

In this paper, Reuveni and colleagues show that a sudden burst of electromagnetic radiation from the sun’s surface travels at the speed of light and reaches Earth in minutes.

“Solar flares can disrupt radio communications systems, affect satellite navigation systems, disable satellite equipment, cause power outages on Earth, and compromise the health of astronauts, and cost billions in repairs and reconstructions if: They can easily cost a dollar. They have reached a very high level,” he added.

What such storms could mean for Earth remains an open question. Scientists recently held a workshop to learn how large-scale solar storms can affect the power grid. Participants used benchtop exercises and simulations to uncover research and development gaps for solar power grid systems. The group modeled Washington DC’s population, including social, economic, and medical details, to emphasize the human aspect of the blackout.

“Space weather is about social resilience, multi-physics and multi-scale. This simulation game embodies all three aspects,” said Mangala Sharma, director of the National Science Foundation’s Space Weather Research Program in a press release.

storm on the horizon

Timing is more important than whether or not a damaging solar storm will hit Earth. Daniel Baker, professor of planetary and space physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Lifewire in an email interview. The probability of a very severe storm is about 10% in 10 years.

“Unfortunately, in the most extreme cases, there’s not much you can do about it.” Baker said.

In February, SpaceX was launched in a geomagnetic storm, losing 40 Starlink satellites. During particularly intense solar flares, airlines can monitor radiation levels to change polar routes. While storms don’t directly affect personal electronics, Mehta explained, they can do so indirectly, such as the GPS performance of cell phones powered by satellite signals.

Realistic 3D sun surface

DrPixel/Getty Images

The worst solar storm in history was the 1859 Carrington incident, Mehta said. The event generated a powerful aurora that was reported around the world, causing sparks and fires at several telegraph stations.

“It is possible that stronger storms occurred before we kept records, or they started in areas of the sun that are not visible from Earth,” Mehta said.

The next big storm may come before it’s too late. The sun follows an 11-year solar cycle, activity peaks every 11 years, and solar storms are much more likely to occur when the sun is more active, Mehta explained. We are leaving the deep solar minimum and entering the most solarly active period of the solar cycle.

“So we must not be complacent and work to improve our ability to predict solar storms and their impacts,” Mehta added.


More information

AI Could Keep Electronics Safe From Solar Storms

Predicting the next blast coming our way

Israeli space weather researchers have found a way to use AI to predict the sun’s radiation outbreaks.
Solar storms can destroy satellites and cause other damage. 
In February, SpaceX lost 40 Starlink satellites when they were launched into a geomagnetic storm.
MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

Artificial intelligence (AI) could soon help keep us safe from solar storms, or at least tell us when they’re on the way. 

Israeli space weather researchers report they’ve used AI to predict the sun’s radiation outbreaks up to 96 hours before they occurred. A huge solar blast is likely to hit the earth with unpredictable results, but it could include destroying satellites. 

“The impacts of such a storm can be wide varying—[it can affect] power delivery and grid security, communications, satellite operations, and collision avoidance, spacecraft charging and damage, [lead to] radiation exposure [for] astronauts and commercial airlines passengers and crews, and more,” Piyush Mehta, a professor of Space Systems at West Virginia University told Lifewire in an email interview. 

Storm Watchers

Scientists have spent decades trying to predict damaging solar storms more accurately. But, said Mehta, “we have a long way to go before we can accurately forecast solar storms and the likelihood of their impacts with confidence.”

Now, remote sensing expert Yuval Reuveni of Ariel University in Israel says his team has invented a new solar storm forecasting method, called the Convolutional Neural Network, according to a recent paper published in The Astrophysical Journal. The technique uses deep learning, a type of AI, to scrutinize X-ray measurements from satellites. 

A sudden outburst of electromagnetic radiation originating at the solar surface travels at the speed of light and reaches Earth within minutes, Reuveni and his fellow researchers wrote in the paper.

“Solar flares have the ability to interfere in radio communication systems, affect global navigation satellite systems, neutralize satellite equipment, cause electric power blackouts on Earth, harm the health of astronauts, and can easily mean a loss exceeding several billion dollars in repairs and months of reconstruction when they reach a very high magnitude,” they added.

Just what such a storm could mean on earth is still open to debate. Scientists recently held a workshop to determine how a big solar storm might affect the power grid. The participants used a table-top exercise and simulation to reveal research and development gaps for the Sun-to-power grid system. The group highlighted the human dimension of an outage by modeling the population of Washington DC, including social, economic, and medical details. 

“Space weather is about societal resilience, multiphysics, and multiscale. This simulation game embodied all three facets,” Mangala Sharma, the program director for Space Weather Research at the National Science Foundation, said in a news release.

Storms on the Horizon

It’s a matter of when rather than if a damaging solar storm will hit the earth. Daniel Baker, a professor of Planetary & Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Lifewire in an email interview. The probability that a very severe storm will occur is about 10 percent per decade.

“There is not a whole lot that can be done for the most extreme cases, unfortunately,” Baker said.  

In February, SpaceX lost 40 Starlink satellites when they were launched into a geomagnetic storm. During a particularly intense solar burst, airlines monitor radiation levels, which could cause them to reroute polar routes. A storm is unlikely to directly affect personal electronic devices but can impact them indirectly, like GPS performance on your phone which runs off signals from satellites, Mehta explained.

DrPixel / Getty Images

The worst solar storm on record is the Carrington event of 1859, Mehta said. The incident created strong auroral displays that were reported globally and caused sparking and even fires in multiple telegraph stations.

“It is likely that stronger storms have occurred, either prior to when we started keeping records or originating at regions of the Sun not visible from Earth,” Mehta said. 

The next big storm could arrive sooner rather than later. The sun follows an 11-year solar cycle, where its activity peaks every 11 years, and solar storms are much more likely to occur when the sun is more active, Mehta explained. We’re just coming out of a deep solar minimum and moving towards the sun’s most active period of the solar cycle. 

“So, we should not be complacent and work on our ability to improve forecasting solar storms and their impacts,” Mehta added.

#Electronics #Safe #Solar #Storms

AI Could Keep Electronics Safe From Solar Storms

Predicting the next blast coming our way

Israeli space weather researchers have found a way to use AI to predict the sun’s radiation outbreaks.
Solar storms can destroy satellites and cause other damage. 
In February, SpaceX lost 40 Starlink satellites when they were launched into a geomagnetic storm.
MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

Artificial intelligence (AI) could soon help keep us safe from solar storms, or at least tell us when they’re on the way. 

Israeli space weather researchers report they’ve used AI to predict the sun’s radiation outbreaks up to 96 hours before they occurred. A huge solar blast is likely to hit the earth with unpredictable results, but it could include destroying satellites. 

“The impacts of such a storm can be wide varying—[it can affect] power delivery and grid security, communications, satellite operations, and collision avoidance, spacecraft charging and damage, [lead to] radiation exposure [for] astronauts and commercial airlines passengers and crews, and more,” Piyush Mehta, a professor of Space Systems at West Virginia University told Lifewire in an email interview. 

Storm Watchers

Scientists have spent decades trying to predict damaging solar storms more accurately. But, said Mehta, “we have a long way to go before we can accurately forecast solar storms and the likelihood of their impacts with confidence.”

Now, remote sensing expert Yuval Reuveni of Ariel University in Israel says his team has invented a new solar storm forecasting method, called the Convolutional Neural Network, according to a recent paper published in The Astrophysical Journal. The technique uses deep learning, a type of AI, to scrutinize X-ray measurements from satellites. 

A sudden outburst of electromagnetic radiation originating at the solar surface travels at the speed of light and reaches Earth within minutes, Reuveni and his fellow researchers wrote in the paper.

“Solar flares have the ability to interfere in radio communication systems, affect global navigation satellite systems, neutralize satellite equipment, cause electric power blackouts on Earth, harm the health of astronauts, and can easily mean a loss exceeding several billion dollars in repairs and months of reconstruction when they reach a very high magnitude,” they added.

Just what such a storm could mean on earth is still open to debate. Scientists recently held a workshop to determine how a big solar storm might affect the power grid. The participants used a table-top exercise and simulation to reveal research and development gaps for the Sun-to-power grid system. The group highlighted the human dimension of an outage by modeling the population of Washington DC, including social, economic, and medical details. 

“Space weather is about societal resilience, multiphysics, and multiscale. This simulation game embodied all three facets,” Mangala Sharma, the program director for Space Weather Research at the National Science Foundation, said in a news release.

Storms on the Horizon

It’s a matter of when rather than if a damaging solar storm will hit the earth. Daniel Baker, a professor of Planetary & Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Lifewire in an email interview. The probability that a very severe storm will occur is about 10 percent per decade.

“There is not a whole lot that can be done for the most extreme cases, unfortunately,” Baker said.  

In February, SpaceX lost 40 Starlink satellites when they were launched into a geomagnetic storm. During a particularly intense solar burst, airlines monitor radiation levels, which could cause them to reroute polar routes. A storm is unlikely to directly affect personal electronic devices but can impact them indirectly, like GPS performance on your phone which runs off signals from satellites, Mehta explained.

DrPixel / Getty Images

The worst solar storm on record is the Carrington event of 1859, Mehta said. The incident created strong auroral displays that were reported globally and caused sparking and even fires in multiple telegraph stations.

“It is likely that stronger storms have occurred, either prior to when we started keeping records or originating at regions of the Sun not visible from Earth,” Mehta said. 

The next big storm could arrive sooner rather than later. The sun follows an 11-year solar cycle, where its activity peaks every 11 years, and solar storms are much more likely to occur when the sun is more active, Mehta explained. We’re just coming out of a deep solar minimum and moving towards the sun’s most active period of the solar cycle. 

“So, we should not be complacent and work on our ability to improve forecasting solar storms and their impacts,” Mehta added.

#Electronics #Safe #Solar #Storms


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