A recent study revealed that alien subatomic particles can disrupt smartphone signals on Earth. Bharat Bhuva, a professor of electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University in the U.S., together with other scientists, found out that these subatomic particles which rain down from space can wreak havoc on any devices. These devices include but are not limited to smartphones, computers and other personal electronic devices.
Cloudy with a Chance of Solar Flares: Quantifying the Risk of Space Weather
Having alien subatomic particles disrupting Earth’s signals seemed to have come out of a science fiction. However, scientists found out that smartphones and computers can crash due to electrically charged particles. Cosmic rays, which came outside Earth’s solar system, generated these charged particles. Hence, the scientists considered it as alien particles.
In a presentation titled Cloudy with a Chance of Solar Flares: Quantifying the Risk of Space Weather, Bhuva explained the problem that the alien cosmic rays can cause to the devices. Bhuva stated that the cosmic rays’ disruption is a big problem which is mostly invisible to the public. The research cited that in 2003, scientists observed the town of Schaerbeek in Belgium. A single flip on the electronic voting machine added 4,096 extra votes to one of the candidates. The organizers detected the error because it gave a candidate more votes that what was possible.
In 2008, a Qantus passenger jet flew from Singapore to Perth and suffered some problems on its avionic system. The plane’s autopilot suddenly disengaged. As a result, the plane went down to 690 feet within 23 seconds. This led to the injury of the passengers. The problem was serious enough that led the aircraft to divert its flight to nearest safe landing.
Alien Subatomic Particles can alter data
The public might not feel these major events unless there is a direct connection. Aside from affecting planes and radio signals, these cosmic rays can affect a smartphone. If a smartphone suddenly went ballistic and crashes, people would instantly blame the phone’s manufacturer or provider. Little do they know that the particles from outer space can affect their personal devices.
These alien subatomic particles can alter individual bits of data which was stored on a device’s memory. When this happens, experts call it the single-event upset or SEU. It is difficult to deduce where these particles will strike. Since the particles do not cause physical damage, the malfunction are hard to distinguish.
A massive solar storm almost started World War 3
Daily Disruption previously reported that a disruption of tower signals can spark international conflict. In 1967, a solar storm rained on Earth and jammed radio signals from various stations. This led to the confusion that an enemy is disrupting radio signals. The military considered a deliberate signal disruption as an act of war. Thankfully, further misunderstandings were prevented after officials clarified the situation. If the misunderstanding continued, it would have led to a possible World War 3.
Bhuva mentioned in his presentation that every sector related to technology knows the problem. These organizations and institutions are taking steps to address it. He added that the general public does not have to worry about these cosmic rays since it does not greatly affect living organisms.
Read the full report from the Vanderbilt University.