The apocalypse that almost happened went under the radar for two years. This week, a chilling NASA report details how civilization as we know it nearly ended back in 2012, when a super-powerful solar flare missed Earth by a tiny margin.
It's the type of flare the EMP Coalition has warned about for years, powerful enough to zap all of Earth's electronics and send us back to the Stone Age. And since no one remembers how to live without electricity, the group thinks 90 percent of us would be dead within a year. The coalition, which counts Newt Gingrich among its members, wants to warn about the danger of electromagnetic pulses and their threat to the grid.
Not everyone is convinced a solar flare could take out power worldwide. In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences conducted a study modeled on a flare about two-thirds as powerful as the one that hit in 2012. While still dire, it predicted power loss for only 130 million people. An event on the order of the 2012 pulse, it said, would cause $2 billion in damage. Some electronics, though, would return to functioning when the storm faded.
The last solar flare powerful enough to wreak such destruction hit Earth in 1859, frying some telegraph lines. Earlier this year, the EMP Coalition warned we're due for another hit.