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Funds toward a Solar storm shield begun by 2021?
When a massive solar storm hit the earth in 1859, it produced auroras bright enough to wake Colorado miners and threw sparks off of telegraph wires. Were such a storm to strike today, however, the consequences to our technology-dependent society would be catastrophic. Such storms are the subject of several other questions, particularly this question regarding the frequency of such storms and this one regarding the construction of a satellite warning system.
Two Harvard University professors, Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb, recently estimate the losses at $10 trillion, with a years-long recovery. In contrast to that cost, which is approximately 50 times the cost of NASA's initial efforts to send humans to the moon. Given estimates upward of 1%/year of such a flare, this sort of prospective loss arguably calls for significant spending at risk mitigation.
Beyond warnings or damage minimization, the above paper proposes a somewhat more radical astronomical protection plan. A loop of copper wire with a diameter similar to the Earth's, they say, powered by one terawatt, could create a sufficient magnetic field so as to deflect the energy of a solar storm enough to protect the planet's technology. Placed at the Lagrange point L1, the loop would cost about $100 billion to construct, Lingam and Loeb estimate. (As a fun side-beneit, they investigate how we might look for signs of such shields built by other civilizations out there.)
Will anyone take this idea seriously? We'll ask the following:
By 2021, will a chunk of more than $100,000 USD be spent in pursuit of this idea?
This question will resolve positively given a credible report that a grant, contract, budget line, or some similar allocation of funding equalling $100K or more has been made toward further study of, or designs for, an in-orbit Earth protecting magnetic deflection system. Effective cost of researcher or faculty time does not count, and the description of the allocation must somewhere directly reference Lingam and Loeb.
Metaculus help: Predicting
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Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.