Powerful solar storms are an imperfectly understood threat to the world’s power grids, but one with the potential for economic damage so catastrophic that the estimated $100-$200 million it would cost annually to deploy an operational space-weather warning system could be trivial by comparison. In a “perfect storm” scenario, when a high-power coronal mass ejection (CME) of charged particles slams into Earth at a time when the delicate balance that operators try to maintain in ...

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