How to Prepare for a Solar Flare Hitting Earth (Because It’s Probably Going to Happen)

Australia Needs Its Own Satellites to Better Prevent Bushfires

Satellite data can help in this task. It helps us identify where and when vegetation such as grass and leaves forms a continuous swath of fuel dry enough for a catastrophic bushfire to ignite and take hold.

To date, Australia has relied heavily on Earth observation data provided by foreign satellites. For example, the CSIRO has purchased a 10% share of time on the NovaSAR-1 satellite developed in the United Kingdom.

Right now, Australia relies on foreign satellites to gather this information. These satellites are not designed to assess our unique bush landscape and its highly flammable eucalyptus. We need to develop bespoke Australian satellites to better prevent bushfires.

Today, a roadmap released by the Australian Space Agency outlines its priorities for Earth observation. It lists national bushfire fuel load monitoring as a priority “mission purpose” – recognising the need for satellites built specifically to watch Australia’s fire conditions from space…READ ON

How to Prepare for a Solar Flare Hitting Earth (Because It’s Probably Going to Happen)

In the Tom Hanks movie Finch, a massive solar flare destroys the ozone layer, annihilating almost all life on Earth (and leading to the invention of annoying robots). While a mass coronal ejection really could hit Earth at any time—a sun-like star 100 light years away called EK Draconis literally just launched one of these things—the good news is that even the worst solar storm probably wouldn’t be as terrible as Finch is (as a movie). The bad news: While it wouldn’t be “building annoying robots” bad, a coronal ejection could still be pretty awful.

solar flare
(Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Short of destroying the sun, there’s nothing humans can do to prevent solar flares—but you can still know what to expect, and prepare accordingly…READ ON

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