NASA issues dire warning on solar activity, says communications grid could suffer

Your golf game, TV reception and mobile communications are about to get a little more dicey, NASA says, forecasting an increase in solar storm activity that could interfere with satellite transmissions, power grids and GPS signals.

The Sun has been pretty quiet of late, says the National Space Weather Program. But that's about to change as Sol enters a more aggressive mood, says Richard Fisher, the head of NASA's Heliophysics Division.

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," said Fisher. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms."

A National Academy of Sciences 2008 study predicted that if a big solar flare--similar to an 1859 wallop that interrupted telegraph service worldwide, and even set some structures ablaze--hit the Earth today, it could cause in excess of $2 trillion in damage.

So, keep that in mind and forget about the GPS golf "caddy" you were looking at for Fathers Day. Get a yardage book instead.

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