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TSS独家报道:地磁暴摧毁了SpaceX的星链卫星:太空天气如何影响地球上的生命

TSS EXCLUSIVE: Geomagnetic Storm Dooms SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites: Here’s How Space Weather can Impact Life on Earth

by Rhodilee Jean Dolor

On March 9, a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 48 Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This was its second attempt in as many months, but February’s launch was not as successful. February’s batch known as Group 4-7 was supposed to join a constellation of over 1,800 satellites that are now orbiting Earth to deliver high-speed internet service from space. However, the deployment did not go smoothly because of a geomagnetic storm that occurred a day after the fleet was launched.

3月9日,SpaceX公司的两级猎鹰9号火箭从卡纳维拉尔角太空部队空间站将48颗星链卫星送入轨道。这是它在几个月内的第二次尝试,但今年2月的发射没有那么成功。今年2月发射的4-7号卫星本应加入由1800多颗卫星组成的卫星群,这些卫星目前在地球轨道上运行,从太空提供高速互联网服务。但是,由于在发射一天后发生了地磁风暴,部署并不顺利。

What is a Geomagnetic Storm?

什么是地磁暴?

NASA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) describes the phenomenon as a major disturbance on the magnetosphere, the region surrounding the Earth that is dominated by the magnetic field of the planet.

美国宇航局的空间天气预测中心(SWPC)将这种现象描述为对磁层的一种主要干扰,磁层是地球周围受磁场支配的区域。

The phenomenon may happen as a result of solar storm, which occurs when the sun emits a burst of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. The surge of solar wind can cause charged particles from the sun to smash into the Earth’s magnetic field, causing major changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in the magnetosphere.

这种现象可能是由太阳风暴引起的,当太阳以太阳耀斑和日冕物质抛射的形式爆发能量时就会发生这种现象。太阳风的激增会导致来自太阳的带电粒子撞向地球磁场,导致磁层中的电流、等离子体和磁场发生重大变化。

The SWPC said that geomagnetic storms warm and increase density in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which can cause a problem for orbiting spacecraft. 

SWPC表示,地磁暴会使地球上层大气升温并增加密度,这可能会给轨道航天器造成问题。

“During storms, the currents in the ionosphere, as well as the energetic particles that precipitate into the ionosphere add energy in the form of heat that can increase the density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit.,” the SWPC explained

“在风暴期间,电离层的电流以及沉淀到电离层的高能粒子以热的形式增加了能量,可以增加高层大气的密度和密度分布,对近地轨道的卫星造成额外的阻力。SWPC解释道

Setback To SpaceX’s Starlink Program

SpaceX的星链计划受挫

According to SpaceX, the geomagnetic storm that occured in early February made the atmosphere denser and increased drag on the newly launched satellites. 

据SpaceX称,2月初发生的地磁风暴使大气层更加稠密,并增加了对新发射卫星的阻力。 

In a statement, the company said that the storm essentially doomed the majority of the fleet.

该公司在一份声明中表示,这场风暴基本上毁灭了大部分卫星。

“The satellites deployed on Thursday were significantly impacted by a geomagnetic storm… These storms cause the atmosphere to warm and atmospheric density at our low deployment altitudes to increase. In fact, onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50 percent higher than during previous launches,” the company said. 

该公司表示:“周四部署的卫星受到地磁风暴的严重影响……这些风暴导致大气变暖,我们部署的低高度大气密度增加。事实上,车载GPS表明,风暴造成的大气阻力的升级速度和严重程度比之前发射时高出50%。”。 

SpaceX claimed that the ground controllers put the satellites into safe mode and flew them in a manner that would minimize the drag, but the atmosphere was too thick for the satellites to safely reach a higher and more stable orbit position.

SpaceX声称,地面控制器将卫星置于安全模式,并以将阻力降至最低的方式飞行,但大气层太厚,卫星无法安全到达更高、更稳定的轨道位置。

“Preliminary analysis shows the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe-mode to begin orbit raising maneuvers, and up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere.”

“初步分析表明,低空阻力的增加阻止了卫星离开安全模式开始轨道提升机动,其中多达40颗卫星将重返或已经重返地球大气层。”

According to Fortune, the price tag of each Starlink satellite is estimated to be between $250,000 and $500,000. Taking into account the cost of launching a SpaceX Falcon 9, which is around $30 million, Elon Musk’s company likely suffered a financial loss of around $50 million because of the storm. 

据《财富》杂志报道,每颗Starlink卫星的价格估计在25万至50万美元之间。考虑到发射SpaceX Falcon 9的成本约为3000万美元,埃隆·马斯克的公司可能因风暴而遭受约5000万美元的财务损失。 

The incident is also a setback to SpaceX’s program to install a constellation of as many as 42,000 orbiting Starlink satellites to beam high-speed internet to customers anywhere in the world.

这起事件也是SpaceX计划的一个挫折,SpaceX计划安装一个由多达42000颗在轨Starlink卫星组成的星座,向世界各地的客户传送高速互联网。

The Geomagnetic Storm that Nearly Caused a Nuclear War

差点引发核战争的地磁风暴

The doomed SpaceX satellites underscore the threats posed by geomagnetic storms.

  在劫难逃的SpaceX卫星突显了地磁风暴所构成的威胁。 

Extreme space weather events are also known to burn instruments and detectors onboard spacecraft. 

已知极端空间天气事件也会烧毁航天器上的仪器和探测器。 

These magnetic disturbances can also pose risks to people and property on Earth. They may cause massive power outages, disrupt radio communications and satellite operations as well as damage power grids, which can cause massive blackouts in extreme cases. 

这些磁场干扰还可能对地球上的人和财产构成风险。它们可能导致大规模停电,干扰无线电通信和卫星运行,并损坏电网,在极端情况下可能导致大规模停电。

“The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the ionospheric density that can modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS,” the SWPC said. 

SWPC表示:“局部加热还会造成电离层密度的强烈水平变化,从而改变无线电信号的路径,并在GPS提供的定位信息中产生误差。”。 

“While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines.”

“虽然风暴会产生美丽的极光,但也会破坏全球导航卫星系统(GNSS)等导航系统,并在电网和管道中产生有害的地磁感应电流(GIC)。”

A geomagnetic storm nearly even caused a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union in 1967. 

1967年,一场地磁风暴几乎引发了美苏之间的核战争。 

During the Cold War, a geomagnetic storm disrupted America’s radar and radio communications. Believing that the Soviet Union jammed the radars designed to detect incoming missiles, the U.S Air Force prepared to attack with nuclear weapons. Fortunately, the information from a then nascent Solar Forecasting Center about the storm made it to the military officials on time. 

冷战期间,一场地磁风暴中断了美国的雷达和无线电通信。美国空军认为苏联干扰了用于探测来袭导弹的雷达,准备用核武器进行攻击。幸运的是,当时刚刚成立的太阳预报中心及时向军方官员提供了有关此次风暴的信息。 

“Had it not been for the fact that we had invested very early on in solar and geomagnetic storm observations and forecasting, the impact [of the storm] likely would have been much greater,” said space physicist Delores Knipp, from the University of Colorado Boulder, who is lead author of a 2016 paper that detailed the incident. “This was a lesson learned in how important it is to be prepared.”

科罗拉多大学博尔德分校(University of Colorado Boulder)的空间物理学家德洛雷斯·克尼普表示:“如果不是因为我们很早就投资于太阳风暴和地磁风暴的观测和预测,那么(风暴)的影响可能会更大。”他是2016年一篇详细描述该事件的论文的主要作者。“这是一个经验教训,说明做好准备是多么重要。”

Buffering the Impacts of Damaging Space Weather

缓冲破坏性空间天气的影响

The occurrence of geomagnetic storms may be beyond human control, but thanks to advances in space science, buffers are now in place to minimize damage from these events.

地磁暴的发生可能超出人类的控制,但由于空间科学的进步,缓冲区现在已经到位,以尽量减少这些事件造成的损害。

NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer, which was launched in 1997, now provides space weather reports and warnings of geomagnetic storms. Shutting down satellites and power grids based on data from the mission may reduce the damaging effects of a storm.

美国宇航局于1997年发射的高级合成探测仪现在提供空间天气报告和地磁风暴警报。根据任务数据关闭卫星和电网可能会减少风暴的破坏性影响。

Power companies are also adopting safety measures such as the installation of tripwires to prevent massive blackouts during a geomagnetic event. 

电力公司也在采取安全措施,如安装三线,以防止地磁事件期间发生大规模停电。 

Researchers, however, acknowledge that there’s still a long way to go and more so because of the possibility of powerful storms.

然而,研究人员承认,还有很长的路要走,更重要的是,可能会有强烈的风暴。

Jeffrey Love, from the United States Geological Survey, who co-authored a study on the 1921 New York Railroad Storm, the most intense geomagnetic storm of the 20th century, told Scientific American in 2019 of what he expects if a similarly intense event happens in this age.

美国地质调查局的杰弗里·洛夫联合撰写了一项关于1921年纽约铁路风暴(20世纪最强烈的地磁风暴)的研究,他在2019年告诉《科学美国人》,如果在这个时代发生类似的强烈事件,他会有什么预期。

“If the 1921 storm occurred today, there would be widespread interference to multiple technological systems, and it would be quite significant,” he said.  “I’m not going to say it would be the end of the world, but I can say with high confidence that there would be widespread disruption.”

他说:“如果1921年的风暴发生在今天,将对多个技术系统造成广泛干扰,这将非常重要。”。“我不会说这将是世界末日,但我可以自信地说,这将造成广泛的破坏。”

Despite the risks,  mankind continues to push forward.

尽管存在风险,人类仍在继续前进。

翻译:StarPoison@STARSET_Mirror翻译组
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