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Scientists have warned that a huge solar flare is due to erupt in 2013, which could paralyse Earth, causing blackouts and chaos.
They fear that the giant explosion of energy from the Sun, a phenomenon which occurs only once every 100 years, could see power grids crash, communication systems collapse, planes grounded and Internet shut down, 'The Sun' reported.
British Defence Secretary Liam Fox called an emergency conference in London yesterday where he warned experts that an incalculable damage would be caused if such an explosion took place in modern times.
The talks, organised by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, heard that the Sun will reach a critical stage of its cycle in 2013. A surge of magnetic energy in its atmosphere is likely to trigger radiation storms which cause massive power surges.
Fox called on scientists to build a strategy against the impending disaster which could be similar to the one in 1859 that smothered two thirds of Earth's skies in a blood- red aurora. The conference also heard that a hostile power could cause a similar effect by exploding a nuclear weapon in space.
Fox said: "While we all benefit from scientific advances, so we also create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by our enemies. However advanced we become, the chain of our security is only as strong as its weakest link."