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Solar storm maroons astronauts on Lunar Gateway

Who switched off the internet?
Dateline: 24 September 2031

That’s the problem with the digital, connected, electronic age. When you’re used to the lights always being on, and everything available, on demand, it’s a shock to the system when the world goes dark and silent.

The Sun has been so quiet for so long that we’ve become complacent and were totally unprepared for the solar ‘superflare’ that hit us yesterday. The coronal mass ejection created a geomagnetic storm of charged particles streaming around our planet, generating catastrophic electrical surges on earth and knocking out satellite systems in space.

But you know this. Your city is probably suffering a total blackout too. Your WiFi is down, and there’s no signal for your phone. And no dial tone either, because landlines are as obsolete as cheque books. Your solar inverter is fried, and your car’s display is a mess of warning lights. There’s no Uber or Amazon to fall back on, and what’s left in your scorched fridge won’t last long. Unless your neighbour has one of those old-fashioned gasoline generators, or you have a bicycle, you’re stuck and in deep trouble.

It’s even worse in space. There’s no GPS, no SatPhone, or TV or Starlink. Airlines are grounded, shipping is stalled, and banking is bust. Smart devices on the ‘internet of everything’ are zombies. Drones are dead and cameras are kaput. Hospitals are helpless. It’s like the apocalypse finally arrived. Thankfully the National Guard still uses diesel trucks and reservists are out on the streets to prevent inevitable looting.

But spare a thought for those poor astronauts orbiting the Moon in the Lunar Gateway outpost. They might as well be marooned on a desert island, with no way of knowing what’s happening back home. It could be weeks or even months before NASA establishes radio comms, and mounts a rescue mission. Mind you, if they have enough supplies they should stay there – it’s better than the chaos down here!

I’d better post this article before my iPad dies, but how the heck am I going to do that?

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Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

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