Extra-terrestrial Hazards

Term Level Definition Source
Extra-terrestrial hazard Subgroup A hazard caused by asteroids, meteoroids, and comets as they pass near to the Earth, enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and/or strike the Earth, and by changes in interplanetary conditions that effect the Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere. IRDR
Impact Type A type of extra-terrestrial hazard caused by the collision a meteoroid, asteroid, or comet with the Earth. IRDR
Airburst Subtype An explosion of a comet or meteoroid within the Earth’s atmosphere without striking the ground. IRDR
Collision Subtype An impact caused by the collision of a meteoroid, asteroid, or comet with the Earth’s ground. IRDR1
Space weather Type A general term for extra-terrestrial weather conditions driven by solar eruptions such as geomagnetic storms, radio disturbances, and solar energetic particles. IRDR
Energetic particles Subtype Emissions from solar radiation storms consisting of pieces of matter (e.g., protons and other charged particles) moving at very high speed. The magnetosphere and atmosphere block (solar) energetic particles (SEP) from reaching humans on Earth but they are damaging to the electronics of space-borne technology (such as satellites) and pose a radiation hazard to life in space and aircraft traveling at high altitudes. IRDR
Geomagnetic storm Subtype A type of extra-terrestrial hazard caused by solar wind shockwaves that temporarily disturb the Earth’s magnetosphere. Geomagnetic storms can disrupt power grids, spacecraft operations, and satellite communications. IRDR
Shockwave Subtype A shockwave carries energy from a disturbance through a medium (solid, liquid, or gas) similar to the action of a wave, though it travels at much higher speed. It can be a type of extra-terrestrial hazard caused by the explosion (airburst) or impact of meteorites that generate energy shockwaves capable of shattering glass, collapsing walls, etc. IRDR
Radio disturbance Subtype Triggered by x-ray emissions from the Sun hitting the Earth’s atmosphere and causing disturbances in the ionosphere such as jamming of high and/or low frequency radio signals. This affects satellite radio communication and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). IRDR

  1. The “Collision” definition is derived from the IRDR “Impact” and “Airburst” definitions. ↩︎