NASA: Our Technology-Dependent Lifestyle is Vulnerable to Solar Flares
In 1859, a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) known as the Carrington Event slammed into Earth. Aurorae, normally observable only near the poles, appeared in the sky as far south as Hawaii and Cuba, providing enough light to read by at night. The then-new global telegraph systems in Europe and America were brought down. Reports of sparking pylons and operators receiving electric shocks abounded - there were even accounts of people being able to send and receive messages over wires that had been disconnected from their power supplies.
Fast-forward to 2013. Our planet is orders of magnitude more dependent on its technology systems. And a solar event the size of the Carrington Event has not recurred since. How vulnerable are we, should another one arrive?
Chris sits down with Dr. Lika Guhathakurta, NASA astrophysicist and heliophysics expert, to understand the science behind CMEs and their potential risk to our way of life:
A geomagnetic storm causes a disturbance in all magnetic fields. That disturbance causes fluctuation in current. And then there are solar electric particles.
So there are many things going on. You can have all your satellites become vulnerable to a single event upset from solar energetic particles, which is essentially anything electronic that interacts with these particles. You can have fluctuation in the ionosphere, which causes scintillation; that causes problems or complications. You can have complication with navigation, causing problems with high altitude aircraft, especially in the polar route. They can’t fly in that zone. High altitude aircraft and crew are exposed to radiation hazards. Astronauts can be exposed to radiation hazards.
Most importantly, these magnetic fluctuations essentially lead to induced ground current that can actually cause significant fluctuations in our power grids. And power grids become quite vulnerable. There have been occasions where we haven’t had Carrington-type events, but even smaller events have led to failure or damage of transformers, which then leads to wide-scale blackouts without power.
When you have such a massive electromagnetic disturbance on Earth, anything that is operated by electricity is vulnerable to fluctuation – anything. You know, so your railway switches, your pipelines -- things that you don’t even associate with space weather -- you find will be fairly susceptible to this massive onslaught of the magnetic disturbance in all geospace.
What I think we don’t fully appreciate today is that how dependent our life has become on technology. And a lot of these technologies are no longer radiation-hardened. And so they are actually vulnerable to not only extreme storms but even medium or mild storms.
And as you know, life without electricity in modern day has its impacts.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Dr. Lika Guhathakurta (39m:11s):
Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson, and today we are joined by Lika Guhathajurta, NASA astrophysicist and program scientist for the STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) mission and lead scientist on NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) initiative. Lika works as a scientist, a mission designer, instrument builder, teacher, and spokesperson for NASA’s heliophysics division. And I’ve asked Lika on the program to discuss the science behind coronal mass ejections, otherwise known as CMEs.
Now, a massive CME called the Carrington Event occurred in 1859, and it disabled much of the world’s then-new telegraph system. What would be the effect if a similar event happened today? Is our much more technology-dependent world more or less vulnerable? How likely is such an event? And should we be more prepared than we are, or are we okay, given the probabilities involved?
Lika, I really appreciate your joining us today.
Lika Guhathajurta: Thank you.
Chris Martenson: So let’s start at the beginning. Please describe a coronal mass ejection, or a CME. What is it, and what causes them?
Lika Guhathajurta: We actually start with our star, the sun. And so you know, we actually live in the outdoor atmosphere of our star. And I don’t think most people recognize that. The sun is continuously losing material in the form of low-density wind. These are nothing. These are not wind in a traditional sense, but really electrons and protons blowing out from the sun. This is the outer most atmosphere, otherwise also known as the solar corona.
The sun is a very ordinary star, so from an astrophysical point of view, there is nothing very distinct about it. But believe it or not, this is the star that has made life possible here on Earth. And we still don’t know – we are still looking for life out there.
Now, what makes sun interesting from the point of your solar system or for inhabitants on this planet Earth? The sun is an ordinary star, but it is a magnetic variable star. And so what that means is that the sun, like earth, has its own magnetic field. It generates a magnetic field that varies with time, and it varies as a cycle every eleven years. That’s the most distinct cycle. That solar magnetic activity goes from very high to very low, kind of like on terrestrial weather scale, El Nino - El Nina kind of concept, maximum - minimum.
And so when we have solar maximum activity is strong, we have what’s called, on the surface of the sun, the yellow ball that we can see with unaided eye, dark regions with viewers and these dark regions are called sunspots. Now these regions are dark not because they are not hot, but because they are a little bit cooler compared to the rest of the surface. And the reason they’re a little bit cooler is because they harbor an intense magnetic field, and this magnetic field essentially inhibits transport of energy from below to the surface. That’s kind of where I would like to end and then launch into CME.
These sunspot regions, which are also called active regions, often are the regions where we have a solar storm, which otherwise, in our technical language, we would call solar flares or coronal mass ejection.
Now, a solar flare is a very intense release of magnetic energy, and this is when, you know, it gets very, very sudden and very intense and very bright. And so the Carrington Event that you were referring to was actually a solar flare that was observed way back in 1859 by Richard Carrington, and I’ll come back to that.
But during the solar flare, we can also have other solar storms happening side by side, in conjunction, and that would be a coronal mass ejection. And a coronal mass ejection is that wind we have – if you actually watch NASA satellites, movies from the Solar Dynamics Observatory you will see that there are large loops rising above that photosphere, which is that yellow ball. And these magnetic field lines will eventually, with time, get twisted and knotted and chilled – much like if you take a rubber band or a slinky and keep twisting it, it will eventually tear open. Same thing happens with a magnetic field line. They eventually tear open just from the pressure built up, and then when that happens, what is released in the process is millions of tons of clouds in the form of magnetized plasma.
Now, plasma is otherwise the full state of matter. So it’s not gas, it’s not liquid, it’s not solid. It is closer to sort of gaseous state, but it is not neutral; it is electrified. So all the atoms in plasma lose their outer electrons, and the atoms become finite. So what you have in plasma is a soup of electrons and protons, and that’s what is released along with the impeded magnetic field in a coronal mass ejection.
A coronal mass ejection can be a huge in terms of latitude and longitude; it can engulf our Earth and many more Earths. They can be really massive in size, and they also expel a huge amount of matter and energy, which then starts propagating through the interplanetary medium.
Interplanetary medium is the distance between sun and Earth, and it’s about ninety-three million miles between our planet, Earth, and the sun. So these materials can be released at the speed of as low as twenty to forty kilometers per second to as far as thousands of kilometers per second. So it starts moving through the interplanetary medium, running into other materials that exist already, creating shockwaves much like we do on our planet in the ordinary weather span.
And then these will come impinge on our magnetic spheres. I’m going to stop here, but this is kind of what a coronal mass ejection is, unless you have questions.
Chris Martenson: It sounds very descriptive. So there’s this ejection of stuff, and that stuff is magnetized plasma, this forced state of matter. So we have some charged particles coming at us at anywhere from twenty to thirty thousand kilometers per second to maybe hundreds of thousands of kilometers per second.
Lika Guhathajurta: But not that much, no. It can be as low as sort of a hundred kilometers per second, as high as two or three thousand kilometers per second. And the most ordinary kind of garden-variety CME would be of the order or four or five hundred kilometers per second.
Chris Martenson: Okay. And so when this is released from the sun, it’s related to the amount of magnetic activity. Is that fair to say?
Lika Guhathajurta: It is very much so.
Chris Martenson: Okay, so when we’re at a solar minimum, we might expect fewer of these. When we’re at a solar maximum, we would expect more of these. And we detect the solar maximum through sunspots, I guess, historically. The most sunspot activity would be a solar maximum in terms of magnetic activity and then the opposite would be a minimum, is that correct?
Lika Guhathajurta: Absolutely. Although I kind of want to draw your attention because we are talking about solar cycles, these are all very important concepts that people always don’t think about. So while the frequency of solar storms, coronal mass ejections, typically tend to go down during solar minimum, the intensity of such coronal mass ejections doesn’t. As a matter of fact, most of our most severe solar storms tended to happen during sort of weak solar cycles and during the declining phase of our solar cycles.
So we are talking about frequencies. During solar max, you can get on the order of three to four CMEs per day, whereas during solar minimum, it could be a CME every few days. And that’s kind of the difference.
Chris Martenson: All right, so the frequency is dependent on the minimum/maximum, but the intensity, is that independent? Or do you tend to…?
Lika Guhathajurta: It is. It is quite independent. It really depends on the nature of the magnetic configuration that eventually releases the material, and that is the cause behind a solar flare or coronal mass ejection.
Chris Martenson: All right, so the Earth is somewhere in the sun’s atmosphere, as it were, and this is a very active creature, this sun of ours. And every so often, it tosses out some particles. And when it tosses those out, how would you know if you were in the way of those? I mean, the sun’s a sphere, right? And I assume these ejections, are they happening anywhere on the sphere of the sun? Or does the sun have an orientation it tends to send out more in one direction than another? And where are we in that directional flow, if there is one?
Lika Guhathajurta: Well, these are all really very good questions. Yes, sun is a sphere, and these storms happen. In terms of latitude, there is a spread. But in terms of longitude, it happens all over. So in terms of latitude, we don’t get solar storms, coronal mass ejections from the poles of the sun, north and south poles. They are more kind of in the equatorial and mid-latitude zone is where we get these storms from, not from the poles. But it can come out from any direction in terms of longitude.
And so what’s really interesting is that one of my missions for which I am the program scientist, STEREO, where we sent two spacecraft, these two spacecraft are actually in the same orbit as planet Earth going around the sun, but one is leading Earth and one is lagging Earth. And so these have drifted away from our planet, and they reached opposition. And now, they are actually able to view the far side of the sun.
So in some ways, we have the three points. We have all our satellites in the sun/Earth line, and we have STEREO spacecraft kind of in opposition going behind, because these two spacecrafts are drifting, as I already talked about, twenty-two degrees per year. And so now, we can see the front side and the far side of the sun all at once. And we are downlinking the bits of data, just small amounts of data, just to see what’s happening on the far side of the sun.
And to me, that is just pretty unbelievable. Up until February 2011, which was when the STEREO spacecraft went into opposition to give us the full view of the sun. We were not able to see the far side of the sun with any manmade object. And we not only see with our observatory; what we have done is we have kind of created an app, which is called 3D Sun or I3D Sun, meaning interplanetary 3D sun. And you can get this on iPhones, iPads, I believe also on Android. And you can see what the sun is doing at any time. It is like the sun in the palm of your hand.
Chris Martenson: Well, that’s fantastic. And that’s only since February 2011?
Lika Guhathajurta: That’s when we were able to see the full sun in totality. And you know, it’s not going to last forever, of course, because the STEREO spacecrafts are drifting.
Chris Martenson: That’s just fantastic. So what are we learning from that? And what I’m interested in here, as well, is the idea of how often it is that the Earth might be in the path of – Well, let’s just say of these coronal mass ejections that are happening, what’s the probability of the Earth being in the path of one of these?
Lika Guhathajurta: Probably these are quite high during solar maximum, since we have on the order of three to four CMEs per day. So you can, of course, imagine that one or two will be directed at Earth.
Now remember, anything, any CME that is on the front face of the sun, these are really sort of massive in terms of latitude and longitude, that even if it is not directly sort of square-on towards Earth, it is going to impact Earth. Because these structures often are much more massive than the Earth itself.
But outside of that, the project is, we have calculated from three to four CMEs, typically have been looking at the Earth-directed CMEs – you know, how frequently do we see these, how frequently do they affect our geospace environment. This is routine. We are observing it, we are measuring its velocity, we are measuring its density. We are kind of trying to understand the magnetic topology. And so we are providing some level of understanding towards forecasting events – their speed and when they will arrive on our Earth geospace environment.
What’s real interesting is that when we talk about extreme events like the Carrington Event, we are really not sure when one of those events might occur. Typically, those large extreme events are something that are categorized as high-impact, low-probability events. You can say it happens every hundred years, every hundred and fifty years. But remember, so far, our data has been only from the front face of the sun. We do not know what’s happening on the far side, or we haven’t had sufficient data to determine that.
So our probability to that extent is incomplete, and we are recognizing that even more when we look at the STEREO observation. For example, just last year in July, one of the STEREO spacecraft, STEREO A, which is ahead of our planet Earth, actually witnessed a coronal mass ejection, which was very, very powerful, comparable to the event that was seen in 1972 in between the Apollo era. And then scientists are actually really… because we have the data but it wasn’t all directive. It was really captured by STEREO and we have the data. They’re trying to figure out, if that event was actually directed at all, what would we be facing? So there’s a lot of understanding going on with these new observations.
Chris Martenson: Let’s talk about this for a second, the potential impact. From what I’ve gathered, a coronal mass ejection is tossed out into space. It spreads a little bit like a shotgun blast might, and the Earth will be somewhere within its aim of sight, as it were. And if we’re directly lined up and there’s a lot of particles coming at us, we might record that as a very big event, maybe as high as a Carrington class at some stage. Is that fair? These things are tossed out, and then they spread, and we’re somewhere in its cone of influence, which might have a real variability from edge to edge compared to the center.
Lika Guhathajurta: Mostly. So let’s start with what happens when these particles actually arrive at Earth. So from the sun, we have a good understanding because we can also see this with our satellites. We are measuring them, a huge amount of mass, momentum energy coming at Earth.
Now, a solar storm always does not lead to a geomagnetic storm. What do I mean by a geomagnetic storm? A geomagnetic storm is when a solar storm is actually going to penetrate into our geospace, into our magnetosphere. And you know, most of the time, our magnetosphere is able to sort of deflect, whether it is coronal mass ejections or high-speed solar wind, etc. But if the magnetic orientation of the coronal mass ejection is such that it can actually connect with the magnetic field of the sun, that’s when these particles actually penetrate into our magnetosphere and deposits all of that energy.
And that is something, today, we cannot predict just with our models. The way we predict is with observation. So we have a satellite called ACE – Advanced Composition Explorer – which is about 1.5 million kilometers upward from Earth towards the sun. And that’s where it actually measured in each local environment of the spacecraft the magnetic fields, as well as the particle velocity density, etc. When ACE actually determines the orientation of the magnetic field line with its sensors, that’s when NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center, who’s in charge of providing essentially warning watches to the nation, issues a warning saying whether a storm is going to be mild, medium, severe – kind of like when we do hurricane prediction – depending on the severity, the size of the coronal mass ejection, and the orientation of the magnetic field.
So that is a very key piece. Just because we have a solar storm does not always mean that we are going to have a geomagnetic storm which will have its consequences in our geosphere’s environment. Does that answer your question?
Chris Martenson: Absolutely. So it’s not just size, it’s orientation that really matters here. If it’s pointed right at the Earth, these particles might penetrate. If they do, let’s talk about what happens then. So what is the impact, say, on – let’s go from the outside in – satellites, maybe terrestrial communications. What’s the first thing that might be impacted if you had a really big event that was pointed right at us?
Lika Guhathajurta: I think if the magnetic connectivity is made at that point, you know, what we see are beautiful aurora, both northern and southern lights. And you know, that’s when you know that a solar storm has led to a geomagnetic storm. Now, this is the more sort of beautiful side of solar storms leading to geomagnetic storms. But outside of that, I think what is done is geomagnetic storm really causes disturbance in all magnetic fields. And that disturbance causes fluctuation in current, and then there are solar electric particles.
So there are many things going on. You can have all your satellites become vulnerable to single event upset from solar energetic particles, which is essentially any electronic that interacts with these particles. You can have fluctuation in the ionosphere, which causes scintillation that causes problems for communications. You can have, again, so communication - navigation, these are problems. High-altitude aircraft, especially in the polar route, if they have communication and navigation issues, they can’t fly in that zone. High-altitude aircraft and crew are exposed to radiation hazards. If astronauts are doing EVA, they can be exposed to radiation hazards.
Most importantly, these magnetic fluctuations that essentially lead to also induced ground current can actually cause significant fluctuations in our power grids. And power grid becomes quite vulnerable, and there have been occasions where we haven’t had Carrington type events but even smaller events have led to failure or damage of transformers, which then leads to wide-scale blackout without power. And, you know, life without electricity in modern day has its impacts.
Chris Martenson: Oh, absolutely. We certainly saw what happened in Fukushima and the difficulties they had there once they lost their power grid and ran out of backup power for their reactors over there. Obviously, it’s a very, very big deal.
So let’s talk about this one, in particular, where the magnetic field gets assaulted or distorted. It gives us this induced ground current. Take us back to the Carrington Event in 1859. I’d read some accounts of people being able to send telegraph messages without actually having any power hooked up, I’ve heard of sparking, arcing, even meltdowns. What was happening there?
Lika Guhathajurta: These currents, in fact, you know, are so powerful, your atmosphere almost is getting electrified in this case. So we have not, in real life beyond 1859, experienced a Carrington-type event, which was so powerful that normally the northern and southern lights are essentially in very high latitudes – high latitude north, high latitude south. The Carrington Event, we could see the northern and southern lights down to our northern lights, down to yhe Bahamas. So the magnet is your Earth; it is just compressed on the day side and extends on the magnetic day and night side. And that is what is causing this tremendous fluctuation.
In some sense, you can think of the all these telegraph lines of the nineteenth century like the Victorian Internet of the day. If we had a severe kind of solar storm of the Carrington variety, you can imagine that your Internet will not exist, partly because the Internet would catch on fire. But if you think of how satellites control many of the sort of signals – if you think of how you have power that is required for the Internet to operate, some of these things will just go away if we had a massive storm of the variety of Carrington Event.
What I think we don’t fully appreciate today is that how dependent our life has become on technology. And a lot of these technologies are no longer radiation-hardened. And so they are actually vulnerable to not only extreme storms but even medium or mild storms.
Chris Martenson: This technology, meaning satellites all the way on down to our power grid?
Lika Guhathajurta: Well, power grid is sort of a different routing. I would say satellites, satellite components, for example. You know, when you have such a massive electromagnetic disturbance on Earth, anything that is operated by electricity is vulnerable to fluctuation – anything. You know, so your railway switches, your pipelines. I mean, things that you don’t even associate with space weather you find will be fairly susceptible to this massive onslaught of the magnetic disturbance in all geospace.
Chris Martenson: Now Lika, you mentioned before that STEREO had observed a really big event that we would’ve missed. It happened fairly recently, it might’ve been as big as the 1972 event, and that there had been some studies or analysis around well, what would’ve happened if that pointed at us? Are you familiar with that? I mean, what would’ve happened if something…?
Lika Guhathajurta: This study is not complete. You know, it is not in scientific literature. And so scientists are actually not using real data and putting it in their model to extract what kind of conditions might we have experienced.
Now, the induction of ground current, for example, has been not only on the storm itself, but also the local condition of the ground conductivity of a given region. So not every region will face the same thing.
So there are must many aspects to these analyses that we are still trying to bring together in the form of data and understanding.
Chris Martenson: Sure. Now, in general terms, understanding that local mileage will vary because it’s like fluid dynamics, I assume.
Lika Guhathajurta: Right.
Chris Martenson: There’s just a lot of intervening forces and so it will not be an evenly spread event. It’ll be concentrated in some areas, minimized in others. But generally speaking, if we were looking at, say, induced ground current, and we were thinking about the power grid, what are the possibilities there that could’ve happened if the 1859, or this most recent one, or even the 1972 event – if those really come along, are we relatively prepared in terms of hardened transformers, in particular? That is the component I guess I would be most worried about. But what are we looking at there, and what are the concerns?
Lika Guhathajurta: I think they are very aware of this possibility. You know, we have had an event in 1989, which was a failure of the Hydro-Québec Power Company. And so people are very familiar with what can happen.
Now, are the power grids sufficiently hardened? I won’t venture to answer that question. It is out of my area of expertise. You can read up and you will know. But what I will say is that the kind of warning that we are providing by NOAA through NASA science observations and analyses is very useful for the utility companies. And the basic kind of bottom line is that you develop a strategy to operate the system in a conservative mode so that it can handle such surges of current and voltage without overload. And so NOAA is able to issue this warning once it gets that measurement from ACE, and it is at the order of twenty to forty minutes.
But before that even, when there is a coronal mass ejection happening, it takes anywhere from twelve hours to three or four days for the coronal mass ejection to arrive. So power companies are given that information so people can begin to take mitigating steps.
Chris Martenson: So if we record a big one, we might have a number of days to prepare for it or get ready for it, and then ACE will detect if it’s really bad, and then you’ll have twenty to thirty minutes to put those plans into effect if you thought it was pretty serious. And all the power companies are – this is something that’s clearly on their radar screen, is that right?
Lika Guhathajurta: Absolutely.
Chris Martenson: Okay, fantastic. So, what precautions, if any – are there any concerns for an individual person living here, maybe listening to this, who doesn’t run a power company, just lives at home? Is there any sort of concerns that they should be aware of? Is there any chance that there’s any of this ionizing radiation coming down? You mentioned it’s a hazard for high flyers, right? Pilots, astronauts.
Lika Guhathajurta: Right. It would be important for space tourism, but not for us who have activities on ground level. But the kind of nuisance that they might experience is iPhone signal going on, your GPS devices working erroneously, those sorts of things is something we probably will feel – and do feel – from time to time.
Chris Martenson: Yeah, so we might experience a power loss, fluctuations, a little disruption of communications, and some very nice auroras. Is that about it?
Lika Guhathajurta: That’s about it. Well, I mean, in some ways, if you are dependent on a GPS device for whatever reason – in the transportation sector, for example – that’s not a big loss. So it depends on what sector you come from, where you would know how severe the loss is. These are not necessarily life threatening, but it depends on the situation.
Chris Martenson: Well, and certainly, you mentioned the largest threat, which is unknowable, is the degree to which we’ve become technologically dependent. And essentially, we can’t really know really what the impact of such an event will be until it arrives and we see what happens. It’s hard to run that experiment, I assume.
Lika Guhathajurta: It’s absolutely – other than, you know, writing fiction.
Chris Martenson: Right. And so you’ve mentioned an event in 1972 and 1989. They sound like they’re relatively frequent in a human lifetime. They’re not like a super volcano or something that happens every few hundred thousand years. This is a fairly regular part of living within the sun’s atmosphere, and we would expect them to continue to occur, right?
Lika Guhathajurta: Yes. And then so the 1972 and 1989, again, were much smaller in scale compared to the Carrington Event. We have not seen anything like a Carrington Event.
Chris Martenson: So that was a fairly unique event in our recorded history.
Lika Guhathajurta: That still remains fairly unique from the kind of data that we have.
Chris Martenson: And so I’m going to assume that one was pointed right at us when it let loose, and we were pretty much dead in its sights.
Lika Guhathajurta: Absolutely. In fact, Richard Carrington was projecting the sun onto a paper, which is where he saw in the sun spot region this immensely bright, two wide dots – which eventually was, of course, visual sighting of a solar flare – rapidly changing. He was so excited he called for another witness. And in about sixty seconds, this flare had changed configuration, becoming, of course, less threatening. A solar flare is, as I mentioned, very rapid, and a huge amount of energy.
Chris Martenson: All right, so beyond being prepared for a surge or a loss of electricity, should such an event come, I guess people could take some precautions, maybe flip critical or sensitive electronics on or off if they thought such a thing was coming. It sounds like we’re just pretty much at the mercy of what comes, and we’ll see what happens when another one happens.
And in terms of likelihood, how likely is it that we would see what we might consider a disruptive CME in – pick a time frame; I don’t know – the next twenty years?
Lika Guhathajurta: It really is very difficult to say. I think what we are recently seeing is actually that the solar cycle is weakening in intensity. And the last solar minimum was actually a very long solar minimum.
So the indications are that solar cycles are actually decreasing in intensity. Does that mean that we cannot have a powerful coronal mass ejection? Absolutely not, as I indicated. Most of the strong solar storms came from weaker solar cycles of the declining phase of the solar cycle.
So I think we have to be ever vigilant. We never take our eyes off of terrestrial weather when hurricanes are forming. It is the same thing. You have to continuously monitor the sun. We have to understand the physics of it with sufficient understanding to be able to develop models to predict it. We are getting better at that.
I think one final thing I want to say is that something that we have not paid really a lot of attention to is high altitude aircraft, aircraft that are flying polar rounds, crew and passengers on high altitude aircraft. These people, depending on how often you travel, these people are subjected to radiation. And in some countries, they have begun to kind of measure this. Not here; we haven’t started doing that yet. But there’s a lot of more going on in the aviation. We’re trying to understand the exposure to radiation, and this will become even more important as the space tourism industry flourishes.
Chris Martenson: All right, well, I’m certainly fascinated. If I wanted to track for myself, could I go to the NOAA website and see either their warnings or the ACE data itself in something close to real time? Or how would you track this, if you were interested?
Lika Guhathajurta: Yes, absolutely. If you go to the space or the Prediction Center website, which is in Boulder, Colorado, you will have a lot of information there from the current conditions to you know, long-term forecasting, medium-term forecasting, right now what’s happening. There’s just lots of good information. And you can go to the NASA website for seeing some of the fabulous imagery and models that we have developed from this data.
Chris Martenson: Well, fantastic. That is just absolutely fascinating work. You’ve got a great career; I’m jealous.
We’ve been talking with Lika Guhathajurta. Lika, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it, as I’m sure everyone does listening to this.