Elon Musk must be tearing his hair out after learning that around 200 Starlink satellites were destroyed by the onslaught of solar storms. The unusual eruptions from our massive star have disrupted communications on Earth, and it appears that the billionaire’s company is the primary victim.
Solar activity follows an approximately 11-year cycle, during which the Sun experiences changes in its magnetic field. During the peak activity period, which we are currently going through, the Sun produces more sunspots, coronal mass ejections, and astonishing flares.
In August of this year, US scientists detected an extraordinary amount of gamma rays emitted by the Sun, which is the highest-energy radiation ever recorded. The figure is equivalent to one billion electron volts.
According to a report from SatelliteMap.space, quoted by Infobae, approximately 569 Starlink satellites have ceased functioning in the past year. Out of these, around 200 experienced failures in the last two months, coinciding with the increase in solar activity reaching the Earth.
Since Starlink became operational, Elon Musk’s company has launched over 5,000 satellites into space. The loss of 200 satellites is an expense that doesn’t sit well with Musk, as replacing them would require at least 9 Falcon 9 launches, which are carried out by SpaceX.
The Impact of Solar Activity on Earth
Increased solar activity can have a significant impact on Earth.
– Communication disruptions: Sunspots can cause interference in radio and satellite communications, making international communication, banking operations, and financial transactions difficult or impossible.
– Power outages: Coronal mass ejections can cause power outages. Solar flares can overload electric grids, leading to electricity cuts.
– Auroras: Solar flares can also cause auroras to occur at lower latitudes. These eruptions release large amounts of energy, which can interact with the Earth’s magnetic field.