Earth’s magnetic poles have historically flipped every 200,000 to 300,000 years. Right now it’s been about 780,000 years since they have flipped.
Scientists aren’t sure if a magnetic pole reversal is imminent, but NASA has observed molten iron and nickel draining from the Earth’s core. A sign they believe could be signaling the shift in poles.
In my opinion, there’s no way to tell if we’re anywhere near experiencing a shift in the Earth’s magnetic poles. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, but it doesn’t hurt to know how a shift in the poles could affect our lives. Here’s Newsweek’s explanation of what to expect if the poles shift:
That devastation could arrive through multiple avenues. The combination of powerful space particles, like unfiltered solar rays, cosmic rays and ultraviolet B rays (the stuff your sunscreen bottle warns you about), would smash through our battered ozone layer and lead us the way of the dinosaurs.
Our infrastructure wouldn’t fare much better. Since satellite grids are linked, once radiation eats through, more will follow, causing a cascading mass blackout, among other disasters, according to Undark.
Undark.org describes it in pretty much the same way.
NO LIGHTS. No computers. No cellphones. Even flushing a toilet or filling a car’s gas tank would be impossible. And that’s just for starters.
But these dangers are rarely considered by those whose job it is to protect the electronic pulse of civilization. More satellites are being put into orbit with more highly miniaturized (and therefore more vulnerable) electronics. The electrical grid becomes more interconnected every day, despite the greater risks from solar storms.
One of the best ways of protecting satellites and grids from space weather is to predict precisely where the most damaging force will hit. Operators could temporarily shut down a satellite or disconnect part of the grid. But progress on learning how to track damaging space weather has not kept pace with the exponential increase in technologies that could be damaged by it. And private satellite operators aren’t collating and sharing information about how their electronics are withstanding space radiation, a practice that could help everyone protect their gear.
Be sure to check out our other prepping related news articles.