Melbourne: NASA has recently revealed that Earth nearly missed a solar flare, or Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that might have plunged the planet towards a global catastrophe on July 23, 2012.
Earth just got lucky and avoided the event, caused from the most powerful solar storm on the sun in over 150 years, as the sun`s aim narrowly turned away from Earth. Had it occurred a week earlier when it was pointing at the planet the result could have been frighteningly different, News.com.au reported.
The power of this ejection would have knocked the planet back to the dark ages, as it has been believed that a direct CME hit would have the potential to wipe out communication networks, GPS, and electrical grids to cause widespread blackout. Most people wouldn`t have even been able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.
According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed 2 trillion dollars or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.
Physicist Pete Riley, who published a paper entitled "On the probability of occurrence of extreme space weather events" has calculated the odds of a solar storm strong enough to disrupt planet in the next ten years was 12 per cent.