This article was originally published on The Conversation. The book contributed the article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Ma Feb. 4, 2022, SpaceX released 49 satellites in the form of Elon Musk’s Starlink spacecraft, most of which were blown into space in the following days. The reason for this shortfall of more than $ 50 million is geomagnetic damage caused by the sun.
Geomagnetic storms occur when the atmosphere is in contact with the Earth. Space is created because of changes in the sun that burn electrons, protons and other elements into the atmosphere. I study the effects of climate change on the properties of space and how scientists can improve the models and predictions of the atmosphere to prevent these disasters.
When the Earth reaches space, it triggers complex processes that can affect everything in orbit. And engineers like me are working to better understand these problems and avoid satellites against them.
Select: Check out the auroras painted in the sky over Earth in these astronaut photos and videos
What is the cause of the air?
The sun is constantly releasing a lot of things that are in the air. This is called the sun wind. The solar wind is also carried to the solar magnetic field. Sometimes the strong rays of the sun are thrown to one side. If the Earth were to move in the direction of the wind amplified by one of these events and fixed, you would have a geomagnetic storm.
The two most common causes of geomagnetic damage are coronal mass ejections – the explosion of plasma from the sun’s surface – and the sun’s air escaping through the coronal cavities – the lower extremities in the air. out of the sun.
The speed at which ejected plasma or solar wind reaches Earth is important – the faster the velocity, the stronger the geomagnetic storm. Typically, the solar wind travels at about 900,000 mph (1.4 million kph). But the strong events of the sun can release the wind up to five times faster.
The strongest geomagnetic storm recorded by coronal mass ejection was in September 1859. When most of the particles hit Earth, they generated lightning on telegraph lines that shocked the Earth. user and, in some extreme cases, actually burns the telegraph instruments in a fire. Research shows that if a geomagnetic disaster of this magnitude hit the Earth today, it could hurt about $ 2 trillion.
It’s a friendly shield
Being let out of the sun, with the wind of the sun, is a terrible thing to some kind of life that is not lucky enough to see them. Fortunately, the Earth’s magnetic field has played an important role in protecting humanity.
The first thing the wind blows from the sun as it approaches the Earth is the magnetosphere. This space around the Earth’s atmosphere is filled with plasma made up of electrons and ions. It is controlled by the world’s most powerful magnetic field. When solar wind hits the magnetosphere, it converts mass, energy and time into this planet.
The magnetosphere can absorb a lot of energy from the daily level of solar wind. But during strong storms, it can increase the load and transfer excess energy to the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere near the poles. This return of energy to the poles results in the best aurora events, but altering the upper atmosphere can damage the air properties.
Damage to anything in orbit
There are a variety of ways that geomagnetic storms threaten the orbiting satellites that serve people on Earth on a daily basis.
When air absorbs energy from magnetic currents, it heats up and expands. This increase greatly increases the thickness of the thermosphere, the surface of the atmosphere which increases from about 50 miles (80 kilometers) to 600 miles (1,000 km) above the Earth’s surface. High altitude is a form of drag, which can be a problem for satellites.
This situation led to the demise of the SpaceX Starlink satellites in February. Starlink satellites are launched by Falcon 9 rockets into a low orbit, somewhere between 60 and 120 miles (100 and 200 km) above the Earth’s surface. The satellites then use engines on board to slowly overcome the force of gravity and elevate themselves to their final altitude at about 350 miles (550 km).
The latest group of Starlink satellites has experienced a geomagnetic disaster while in the lowest Earth orbit. Their engines could not withstand the magnitude, and the satellites began to slowly fall all over Earth to fire in the sky.
Drag is another disaster that has caught the attention of property owners. The higher the number of electrons in the magnetosphere during strong geomagnetic shocks is the amount of electrons that enter the shield in a plane and accumulate in its electricity. This buildup of electrons can release the material in the form of small lightning and damage the electricity.
The emission signal can be altered by radiation input or objects trapped in the magnetosphere – even during mild geomagnetic storms. This event can cause faults in any part of the aircraft’s electrical system, and if a fault is found in a significant event, the entire satellite can crash. Small mistakes are common and can be fixed, but total failures can occur, albeit infrequently.
Finally, geomagnetic disturbances could destroy the ability of satellites to communicate with Earth using radio waves. Many communication technologies, such as GPS, for example, rely on radio waves. The air constantly changes the radio waves in a certain amount, so engineers corrected this distortion when building communication systems. But during geomagnetic storms, changes in the ionosphere – which is fixed as a thermosphere about the same level – change the course of the radio waves. Calibrations in the area for calm air become faulty during geomagnetic storms.
This, for example, makes it difficult to lock GPS signals and can throw the position by a few meters. For many industries – aircraft, marine, robotics, transportation, agriculture, military and more – GPS configuration errors of certain meters cannot be recorded. Autonomous control systems need to be in the right position.
How to protect the air
Satellites are essential for the formation of most of the new Earth, and the protection of space resources from space is an important area of research.
Some of these problems can be alleviated by shielding electrical appliances from radiation or by developing materials that are more resistant to radiation. But there is only so much protection that can be made in the face of a strong geomagnetic storm.
The ability to accurately predict disasters allows the satellites and other assets to be protected in some way by replacing the power lines or reorganizing the satellites so that they are better protected. . But while the comparison and prediction of geomagnetic storms has improved greatly in recent years, the estimates are often wrong. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that following the release of the coronal mass ejection, a geomagnetic disaster “is likely to occur” the day before or on the date of the February Starlink release. The missionary went first.
The sun was like a child throwing up often. It’s important for life to continue, but its ever -changing nature makes things difficult.
This article is republished under The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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