SANSA recently hosted representatives from the Met Office, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, RAL Space, and Imperial College London in the UK. The visitors met with SANSA researchers to discuss a multinational space weather project as part of the UK Space Agency's International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP).
The two-pronged focus of the 'Space Weather: the Economic Case' project is to determine the socio-economic impact of the consequences of space weather on the partner countries and exchange knowledge to enhance space weather applications under adverse conditions. The project will also build capacity in developing counties to contribute to the international space weather 'problem' while simultaneously benefitting from the programmes and experience of space-faring nations. "This study will demonstrate how important it is to consider the impacts of space weather," said Catherine Burnett, Space Weather Programme Manager, Met Office.
While space weather has influenced the Earth throughout its history, the impacts on climate and modern technological infrastructures are still poorly understood. Their significant and increasing risk to human activity has only relatively recently been recognised due to the rapid and widespread growth of space weather-sensitive technological systems operating in space, on aircraft and on the ground. "We are hoping that this study will provide a strong business case for the development of a new space weather monitoring satellite to be positioned at L5 which will allow space weather centres across the globe to improve their observation and forecasting abilities," said Burnett.