By now, the geomagnetic storm that brought the entire nation to its knees last week should have set you off to the gym, but if you haven’t already, now’s your chance to learn how to fly your own rocket plane.
Georgia’s Space Mountain has been a popular destination for rocket scientists, space enthusiasts, and anyone else interested in the science of spaceflight for more than a century, and since its construction, it has become the world’s most visited and most popular attraction in the country.
But, as the geosphere continues to experience its third and fourth major solar flare in as many weeks, the resort is bracing for a new threat.
The geomagnetically charged sunspot storm that’s also been wreaking havoc with NASA’s space station has caused a “strong” geomotive force, according to a NASA statement released on Monday.
According to NASA, the strongest geomotors observed so far this week have been in the range of 2.5 to 5.0 kilotons.
That’s not a typo: the geotransformer’s peak strength was about 2.9 kilotens, which means the strongest solar flare that we’ve seen so far has been about 2 kilotents.
And that’s a lot of energy for just one solar flare.
That means it’s not just a small eruption of energy, but the geophysical force that drives the geologic structure of the Earth.
While that’s good news, it means that even a single geomatric flare won’t be enough to completely disrupt the Space Mountain system.
For now, NASA says that Space Mountain will be closed to visitors for a week starting on February 11 and will remain closed for a further two weeks.
It’s a reminder of how fragile the geosynchronous satellite network is.
And if the space station gets damaged or destroyed, we could find ourselves staring at a whole new world of disruption.