"if it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," said daniel baker, of the laboratory for atmospheric and space physics at the university of Colorado. "i have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did. if the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire."
with colleagues from nasa and other universities, baker has been studying the disaster that wasn't. if the coronal mass ejection (cme) had hit the Earth, it would have disabled "everything that plugs into a wall socket".
there would have been major disruption to all satellite communications and electrical fluctuations that could have blown out transformers in power grids. most people wouldn't have been able to turn on a tap or flush a toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electricity.
Russian mission control has lost contact with a satellite full of geckos slated to participate in a weightlessness experiment, in the latest setback for the country's space industry.
The Photon-M satellite and its reptile crew will probably be lost and fall from orbit in a few months unless specialists can re-establish communications with it, a source in the space industry told Interfax news agency. The four female and one male gecko on board will die from hunger within two and a half months or earlier if the craft's life-support systems are also disrupted, the source said.