Earlier this month, NASA warned that as the Sun wakes up from its "deep slumber," a massive solar storm could wreak havoc on our electronics, from satellites to the electrical grid, causing damages up to 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina.
But the Sun isn't the only threat to our electronic lifeline. National Geographic explorers the risk and consequences of the "electronic Armageddon" that could be caused by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb.
An EMP bomb, National Geographic explains, is "a bomb that's designed to go above the atmosphere and release huge amounts of energy," some of which in the form of gamma rays. Such a weapon would cripple electronics, but not kill people.
"In less than a billionth of a second, the electrical intensity on Earth's surface would become so hot that microchips would fry, power lines would overload and the electric grid would collapse," says National Geographic, describing . "Everything with microelectronics in it would stop: your car, your computer, the subway. There would be no electricity."
Learn more about what would happen if an EMP bomb were ever detonated in the video below, then find out more about solar flares.
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